Monday, April 20, 2009

Always a crowd (Shabu-Shabu House, Little Tokyo)

Many, many, many years ago I used to work in the heart of Little Tokyo and I always wondered why does everyone wait outside for so long to eat at Shabu-Shabu House? Like clock work, people would start gathering outside right around 5pm or so as I watched in amazement. I couldn't get over the fact that people would wait such a long time and pay money to eat shabu shabu (Japanese Hot Pot). Shabu Shabu was always a type of food that we would eat at home, never at a restaurant. Next thing you know shabu shabu style restaurants were all the rage. The first time I ate here was years after I had worked in Little Tokyo. Again it was my wife's family that got me hooked to this place. Soon after my first experience, I too, was one of the many who would endure standing in front of the restaurant like a bunch of salivating wolves ready to pounce.
The quality of the food is really good, but what makes this restaurant so good is their sauce. Their sauce is truly unlike any other shabu shabu restaurant sauce. Oh, and I can't forget....they don't charge for extra gohan (rice) :) You got to love that! And we always end our meal with an Iced Coffee, which by the way, used to be free :( But I won't hold that against them. I still love this place!

Shabu Shabu Set Up
In my opinion, what makes this place so special and worth the wait is the sauce. The sauce on the left is some sort of peanut/miso dipping sauce. Add a little minced garlic and this sauce defines deliciousness! The other dipping sauce is regular ponzu (Japanese citrus sauce). Nothing too special about it, but the peanut sauce is something else!

The quality of beef is really good at Shabu-Shabu House. In fact, the owner's wife actually attends the same church as my mom and for awhile we used to order big slabs of the ribeye from them. We then used to slice it ourselves and eat shabu shabu at home or cut it thicker and make steaks.

Shabu-Shabu House
127 Japanese Village Plaza Mall
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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