I had a pretty good meal at Shabu Shabu House in Little Tokyo this past weekend, so I've had cravings for more.
To get my fix, my coworker and I went to California Shabu Shabu in Fountain Valley for a quick lunch. There aren't many decent shabu shabu spots in OC (that either of us knew of) so we decided to try this spot.
We each ordered a large size which was $11 and after we finished eating, we both decided that would be our last trip there.
Their gomadare sauce lacked a decent amount of flavor (not enough sesame flavor?) and their ponzu sauce tasted overwhelmingly tart. Somewhat disappointing but it didn't kill the meal.
What *did* kill the meal was the beef. The beef was sliced so thin that it required some care to get it from the plate to the pot without falling apart. Ridiculous.
The meat should definitely be sliced thin, but at a reasonable thickness to AT LEAST prevent this from happening. At the same time, it shouldn't be bastardized or cut too thick to satisfy the "Claim Jumper"-set of American grubbers (which I've seen before).
Aside from handling the beef, the thinness of the meat also made it extremely hard to TASTE the meat--the most important part of eating, right? After a couple swishes in the pot, the meat contracted into a small scrap of fiber.
To be fair, I have no idea if the thinness of the meat was intentional on that particular day/week/whatever, so I can at least blame it on lack of quality control. :)
Finally, I will never eat here again. Not because the place is deserving of scorn, but because there are other, better options in the LA area: try Shabu Shabu House in Little Tokyo or Shinsengumi in Gardena. If you have additional suggestions, let me know so I can try them out.
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