California Shabu Shabu, a Japanese cook-it-yourself chain with a location in Costa Mesa and a flagship in Fountain Valley, is opening its first L.A. location in Santa Monica at Broadway and 9th Street. Though it currently doesn’t look like much, owners are planning to pop the doors open this month and are currently seeking servers. If you’re not familiar with shabu shabu, it’s servings of paper-thin meats that one swishes through a bath of boiling water until cooked, before taking a dip in sauces like ponzu and goma (shabu is also slang for crystal meth in certain parts of Asia, but that’s another story). So, how does this chain appear to stack up against its competition so far?
At a glance, the menu already looks more affordable than Sawtelle’s Mizu 212, and naturally the lines will have to start shorter than the ones at Downtown’s ever-packed Shabu Shabu House. It should be welcomed by Japanese dining fans either way, let’s hope it holds up to the first taste tests.
Currently, you can follow the restaurant’s progress on its own blog, which humorously documents its struggle to digest a Miami Vice color scheme instituted by its landlord and musings on questions like “Where has all our money gone?”
California Shabu Shabu, opening in August at 900 Broadway. Santa Monica.