Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Shabu Shabu? Now this is cool.....

Sluggo's II, Cafe Paulina, Ban Ban Ramen. Small food/restaurants located in the 1221 Kapiolani building which just so happens to be the location of my business office. The space occupied by the names mentioned could never seem to succeed. When the owners of Ban Ban Ramen told us that they would be trying their hand at a restaurant business in Las Vegas we had no idea who would be the new occupant. Then one day out of the blue, "Shabu Shabu House". what's a "Shabu Shabu"? In no time curiousity led to lunch and dinner at this new eatery. The result? Gotta be one of the cooler restaurants around. Fast, healthy, tasty, and very friendly service. Shabu shabu is gaining popularity in Hawaii as is evidenced by the number of "Shabu Shabu" restaurants popping up all over town. But, "Shabu Shabu House" in the 1221 Kapiolani Building in at least one old man's mind is where "Shabu Shabu" in Hawaii first popped up. Try it soon, I know you'll leave saying, "Now that was cool!!!!"
Kazuyo Matsuzaki delivers platters of thinly-sliced meats and assorted vegetables to patrons' tables.Photo by Randy T. Fujimori

Posted on: Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hot-pot dish boils down to healthy eating

Shabu Shabu House

Where: 1221 Kapiolani Blvd., Ground Floor

Call: 597-1655

Hours: Lunch Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner nightly from 5 to 10 p.m

Parking: Fully validated

East Oahu resident Tiffany Pestana drives into to town at least once a week to eat at Shabu Shabu House.

"My girlfriend took me here a couple of months ago and now I come here all the time," smiled Pestana, after finishing a plate of thinly-sliced meats and assorted vegetables. "It's healthy food so it's actually helping me stick to my New Year's resolution."

Since opening two years ago, this Kapiolani Boulevard restaurant has helped popularize the traditional Japanese style of cooking known as shabu shabu.

"It took a while for people to discover this method of preparing food," said co-owner Kenny Ikeguchi, shaking his head in disbelief. "They would ask, 'Cook with water? What's this?' But once they tried it, they were hooked."

Simple and healthy, shabu shabu refers to thin slices of beef and vegetables that are dredged in a light, konbu-infused pot of boiling water and then dipped in one of three sauces: ponzu, which is made with rice vinegar, soy sauce and mirin; goma, a sesame-seed-based sauce; or ginger.

Seated at one of four chairs along the curved bar, chiropractor William Kim treated three of his staff members to a lunch of meats and vegetables this past Monday.

"It's great food," gushed Kim, who, like Pestana, frequents this restaurant at least once a week. "The food and flavors are clean and the service is very friendly."

Smiling and politely nodding her head, Kazuyo Matsuzaki — whose husband Toshimitsu co-owns Shabu Shabu — delivered a mound of paper-thin slices of Black Angus prime rib eye and prime kurobuta pork loin, and a plate filled with Kauai shrimp, clams and scallop to the table. (Cost for each platter is $19.95.)

She promptly returned with a small bowl of rice and another platter piled with bok choy, cabbage, udon noodles, tofu and homemade tsukune (a delicate Chinese-style, chicken-and-pork hash).

And the fun began.

Within a minute of pushing a button to fire up the burner, the pot of water came to a rolling boil, bubbling and waiting for the first slices of meats and leaves of bok choy and cabbage to be steeped and swooshed.

In less than 10 seconds, a slice of rib-eye steak was done, followed by a slice of pork loin and bok choy. Within 30 to 45 minutes, the platter was empty, the vegetables eaten, the water at a standstill and the appetite fully satisfied.

Other available set lunch menus include a combination of beef and pork for $9.95, and a beef or pork and shrimp combination for $16.75. (Larger portions are available for $3 more.)

The same menus are available in the evening, with prices jumping $2 more across the board and an additional $4 for larger portions.

"Once people try our shabu shabu, they always come back," Ikeguchi said. "We've got a lot of regulars now


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