First, a big thank you to dbird, lil mikey, and ks for their recs on this place.
Wanted to take the gf out for a "special occasion" dinner. She requested shabu-shabu, which until last Friday, seemed like the makings of a paradoxical situation.
The above posters recommended Kagaya, on Second and Central in the Honda Plaza of Little Tokyo. They warned of the prices, but stated positively that it was worth it.
Upon arrival, I was a little shocked at the ambience of the place. Or rather, lack thereof. It looked like any other shabu-shabu place, and a quick perusal of the menu revealed it to be about 3-5 times the price.
But the proof is in the pudding. We ordered the live seafood special (Alaskan king crab, clams, mussles--- the waitress informed us that, at $90 a pop, it would not be cheap---an appreciated gesture), and a plate of Wagyu beef. The usual yam noodles, shiitake, kale, etc. accompanied both. Everything was incredibly fresh and delicious, including "appetizers" including in the price of the main course (beef tataki, a delicious seafood soup, and one other). This was all top-notch stuff.
Service was incredibly friendly and attentive, with a minimum of invasiveness (unlike other, more laissez-faire shabu-shabu places, they will continually come skim off the fat in your pot, and the chefs themselves come out and fix your last course udon/rice soup).
Comprehensive sake list, as well as a variety of Japanese beers and wines.
The seafood special, the Wagyu plate, a $40 bottle of sake, two sorbets---final tab of $225. While it may be unconscionable to spend this sort of money on shabu-shabu (it would have been to me previous to this experience), it was worth every penny!
Thanks again, Hounds...
418 E. Second St., Little Tokyo
As Lil Mikey helpfully pointed out, reservations are highly recommended...