Had heard such raves about this place when it was in Quincy, but somehow never got down there. Now that it is in Arlington it is DEFINITELY part of the rotation.
Food wise, WOW!!! Hands down best food of this style I have ever eaten. So much better then the other Shabu Shabu joints in Boston.
We had a combo with the Sirloin and veggies. Also ordered corn, mushroom plate, Udon, and Shandong noodles. The Shandong noodles were way better then the ordinary Udon.
We also ordered some tongue.
Combo give you two broths, we went Mala and herbal.
Both broths were culinary things of beauty. Truly awesome. The herbal I drank a lot of as soup as we worked our way through the meal. Complex, laden with very fresh cumin seed, and another 20 notes of barks, berries, etc.
Think one was Chinese black cardomom:
And Dried Ju Ju Be fruits: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jujube
There was also a very pungent cardomom like pod that was white and a bit plumper and much zingier then regular cardomom.
I kept gnawing on various barks and berries as they cooked and they were all really quite amazing.
The meats were downright gorgeous, shimmering slivers of jewel-like pristine meat. One of the best preps for tongue I've ever eaten. A small tip, I always like to eat the meat rare, or medium rare, it's fine if you let it cook through, but so much beefier rare.
The Ma La broth was eyewateringly strong, and intensified A LOT as we ate, the flavors steeped, and the broth reduced.
Both my DC and myself had "holey cow I just shot chili, cumin, ma la (Sichuan Pepper corn) up into my brainstem, I may go blind but in the very best way" moments. As we finished the Ma La broth had turned into an oily firey cauldron of beefy brothy wonder.
I had them package it up and am dreaming of throwing some chinese noodles I have in the freezer on in for a little repeat performance.
Mushroom plate had fresh oyster, porcini, enokitake, matsutake, and reconstituted dried cloud ear. All wonderful.
Corn cooked in the broth was great.
Also had a selection of wonderful if slightly pricey cold sake. They seem to be waiting for a restocking order on this front.
Our hostess and the wait staff were patient and wonderful.
Whew, short version, for one of my best Boston meals of 2010. Run don't walk, this is what chowhounding is all about.
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