Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shabu & Shabu - Atlanta

It’s not often that I get the opportunity to head to Duluth for a meal. Typically, after my 400 mile drive east, Jennifer will say the drive from Buckhead to Duluth is simply too far and too taxing. The result is many of Atlanta’s Korean and Chinese restaurants slip out of my grasp. However, after driving back from Charleston, Jennifer acquiesced to a long distance dinner, but the question was where to go? In what has become a running joke, I first suggested Honey Pig, but I decided something else was in order. Remembering a review from Chloe Morris of Chow Down Atlanta , I suggested that we give Korean hot pot a go. Sacrificing her time and comfort, Jennifer agreed and we began the drive to Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth.

 Sadly, even with Morris’ review, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we pulled into Shabu & Shabu. Prior to this meal, my sole experience with Korean hot pot came from a recipe for sogogi shabu shabu from Crazy Korean Cooking; fiery red and potent, that shabu shabu was a distinct departure from the usual Japanese style.  Regardless, on a chilly and rainy night like that Sunday, any type of hot pot was welcome.

After we were shown to a booth with a privacy curtain, it was soon a matter of where to begin. Even with individual pots of broth, we decided to try a little bit of everything and that started with a plate of vegetables.
There seemed to be a little bit of everything here, tofu, rehydrated shiitake mushroom, egg, enoki mushroom, kabocha squash, fish cake, corn, bean sprouts, etc, but what really confused us was the addition of a hot dog.
Nestled between the enoki mushroom and the greens was a half of a hot dog. Maybe Shabu & Shabu decided the vegetable plate needed a little emulsified meat, your guess is as good as mine.

Healthy bits and hot dogs aside, it was a little bit of everything when it came to the meats.
Pork, chicken, beef, seafood, and even an extra plate of tripe, it was far too much for two people but we were feeling ambitious.
The seafood was a particular standout and as soon as it arrived I was trying to think of an elegant way to eat the whole baby octopus.

When it actually came to cooking our proteins and vegetables, we were each armed with a small pot of broth.
I’m guessing it was some combination of dashi and mirin, regardless it was well suited to everything on the table.

One thing Chloe had been particular about was the sauce and at Shabu & Shabu, they will tailor the dipping sauce to your heat tolerance.
This medium sauce it was pleasant combination of ponzu, sesame sauce, chili sauce, and scallions.
Our waiter didn’t believe me when I asked for the extra hot sauce, but they soon brought me a bowl brimming with diced Thai hot peppers.
After a quick mix I was ready to start cooking.

When the picking, swishing, dipping, and slurping was finished, there was still plenty of tripe and a few vegetables left. Nothing against the tripe, but when I’m made to choose between meat, hand pulled noodles, or tripe, the third choice looses every time. While the empty plates can attest to the quality, if there is one downside to Shabu & Shabu, it’s the location. Were they closer to Buckhead, I would insist on a visit every time I made it to Atlanta.  However, even with the drive to Duluth, the service, the food, and that nasal clearing extra hot dipping sauce makes it all worthwhile.

Shabu & Shabu Address & Information
Shabu & Shabu on Urbanspoon

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