You may not believe in shabu-shabu. After all, you're paying to go out to boil your own meat. But Shabu Shabu Bar has upped the ante with an extra level of DIY: "They provide a mortar and pestle for you to grind your own goma (sesame seed sauce). Call it silly, call it stupid, call it counter intuitive. It's the same reason why people do 1000 piece puzzles or climb Everest: just so they can say they did," explains elmomonster.
"Anyway, the grind-your-own-goma bit is just for show," continues elmomonster. "No matter how much elbow grease you put into it, the seeds will never turn into a paste. Instead, the waitress (who will pity your efforts) will pour in the real sauce from a bottle and then amp it up with garlic, scallions and a dash of chili oil. She'll do the same for the ponzu if you let her."
To throw in an extra level of hard-core, get the $50 Yokozuna Platter, which is at least 40 slices of rib-eye. "Only when it arrived did I realize what we had we gotten ourselves into! Sure, most of it was air, but this was sliced beef formidably stacked into a literal meat mountain, looking much like those giant paper-mâché volcanos kids make for their grade school science projects," says elmomonster. The stuff is light and wispy: tissue-thin slices of rib-eye.
It's delicious, but it might kill you.
For more on shabu-shabu, see last week's post on Shabu Shabu House.
Shabu Shabu Bar [Orange County]
1945 E. 17th Street, Santa Ana