Until now. Lau recently weighed in on both of these Japanese standards, finding them to be worthy versions. He reports that Berkshire pork sukiyaki—thin-sliced meat, simmered at the table with vegetables, tofu, and glass noodles in a concentrated broth seasoned with soy, mirin, and sugar—is very tasty. Beef shabu-shabu—the hot-pot variant in which slices of meat are briefly swished (hence the dish's onomatopoeic name) in boiling broth—is another winner. It's served with noodles, a heap of vegetables, and sesame and ponzu sauces for dipping.
Rounding out Lau's dinner: creditable renditions of simmered kabocha (winter squash); house-made tofu; sautéed ginger pork; satsuma age (fried fish cake, a past hound favorite); and tender, buttery gindara saikyo (miso-marinated grilled black cod). Service is friendly and the clientele is mostly Japanese, but the restaurant's access—downstairs to the basement, then upstairs to the above-street-level dining room—is somewhat baffling.
Momokawa [Kips Bay]
157 E. 28th Street (between Third and Lexington Avenues), Manhattan