New 2-floor shabu-shabu/hotpot place in Chinatown. Same owners as FuGaKyu and East Ocean City. I'm a big fan of Shabu-Zen (other hotpot place), but I like Kaze even better because (1) more and more interesting options (2) it's quieter and more spacious, perfect antidote to SZ's crowding and constant lines.
Prices ($12 stuffs you silly--cheap for what you get) and quality (very high, very fresh) are about the same as SZ. Highlights for me were:
-Malaysian satay broth. Just spicy enough. Also contemplated (but wussed out on) Chinese cilantro with preserved egg. Other options: miso, Japanese curry, tonkatsu, kimchi.
-Beef quality was astounding--see-through slices, perfect fat marbling, really full-bodied/earthy. Does it make sense if I say sushi-quality meat?
-Mung bean noodles. Like cellophane noodles but, uh, mungier (very creamy and not as chewy, with a slight sweetness)
-"Fish pasta." This was in Alison Arnett's Globe review (linked). Waiter squirted fish paste from a pastry bag in jazzy swirls directly into the boiling broth; really toothy but smooth (and just slightly fishy) noodles bubbled to the surface seconds later.
No free red bean dessert like at SZ, but on the way out they did give us a giant Kaze-branded plastic 2006 wall calendar featuring "Muppet Babies"-style caricatures of the Chinese Zodiac. Wha?
1 Harrison Ave. (old Hollywood/Ekco Lounge space)
Open for lunch and dinner daily until midnight