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.


Kate said...

I just ate here tonight with family, having read this post before hand to get an idea of what to expect. This place, for my taste, is not a good place for a vegan! Even though the pots are split into two broths, there is a lot of cross-contamination that can happen with almost no effort at all. Between serving the food out of the pots and the pots reaching a boil, broth gets all over the place. My grandpa was across from me, and they replaced my broth twice because of cross-contamination. They were very nice about everything, but for my sake it was too complicated and troublesome. I found the vegan shoyu broth to be boring in flavor. Oh and it has fish flakes in it typically - if you ask for it without fish sauce they get confused. Additionally, what comes with the vegetarian option doesn't have any flavor. It is all boring - a couple pieces of soft tofu (blech), 2 baby portobello mushrooms, 2 carrot slices, a few udon noodles, and then lots of napa cabbage, spinach, and two small clusters of enoki mushrooms.

I am sharing this here for vegans in Sacramento also doing a google search for this place. I'm sure some will like it, but I found everything kind of sketchy...oh and the ponzu sauce and goma sauce that come with the meal are not vegan. They can make the ponzu sauce vegan, but not the goma sauce.

I will not be back to this place, even though the service staff were very patient with my needs.

Pam said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, Kate. I'm sure it will be helpful to other vegans who are thinking about trying this place.