Monday, April 22, 2013

Shabu Japanese Fondue

I must have driven past Shabu Japanese Fondue hundreds of times, but I'd never checked it out. Then a friend had dinner there and told me the menu looked vegan-friendly. So my husband and I went to Shabu over the weekend.

I was concerned about whether we would both be able to order fondue, since my husband is not vegan and I wouldn't want to cook my vegetables and tofu in the same cooking broth in which he was cooking meat. As it turned out, that wasn't an issue, since Shabu has a divided pot that can hold two different cooking broths.

Of the four broths on the menu, one is vegan (Kombu, consisting of salt, water, and seaweed), and two can be made vegan by leaving out the fish sauce (Shoyu and Miso). I chose the vegan version of the Shoyu broth, which is a soy sauce based cooking stock. A small plate containing Daikon radish, green onions, and garlic accompanies the broth so you can flavor it to your taste.

I ordered the Vegetarian Shabu Special, which included chunks of tofu, carrots, cabbage, spinach, enoki mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, udon noodles, and rice. Basically, you just put a few things in the broth, let them cook for a little while, and then scoop them out and eat them over your rice. If you'd like, you can dip them in the ponzu sauce, a vegan citrus soy sauce.

I enjoyed the leisurely experience, cooking a little food, eating it, then cooking and eating a little more. I had to forgo the non-vegan ice cream that comes with the meal, but I was full anyhow so I didn't miss it.

We didn't have a reservation for dinner, which meant we had to wait for a table for twenty minutes or so. This restaurant may not have been on my radar, but it does a very good business, at least on weekends, so I would recommend making a reservation if you decide to go.

Shabu Japanese Fondue is located at 1730 16th Street (16th and R), and their phone number is 916-444-6688. The restaurant's website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at!/shabufondue. They are open for dinner only from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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