Monday, September 21, 2015
Just as we (used to) love our fondue, Japanese love to sit around a hot bubbling pot and cook their own savory tidbits. Shabu-shabu starts with a pot of broth bubbling over a burner; ours came to the table full of goodies. You can identify tofu, black beans, enoki mushrooms and spinach but I don't remember what the bread-like chunks were. Maybe bread?
You dunk all the food below the surface and bring it out wet and savory. Then comes your plate of paper-thin sliced pork -- two different kinds, you will notice, each with a different pattern of marbled fat. You put a slice into the pot for a minute or two, then fish it out and chow down.
Finally after you've eaten and eaten and eaten, the waitress brings a bowl of noodles to put in the (sort of) empty pot of broth. We were so stuffed that we barely touched them. I hope they put the leftovers out for some homeless people, because a whole lot of homeless people could have had a fine dinner.
The food was great but the excess was off-putting. What you see in the pot was for four people (I think it could have served six or seven easily) and the plate of pork was for two.
And I didn't mention the three courses that came before the pot -- exquisite plates of mystery food.
But that's quibbling; the food was both delicious and beautiful. I didn't get the feeling that it was just a tourist meal, although I would recommend it to any tourist.