PSA: We've just found the best double date spot in the five boroughs! Spring Shabu-Shabu, located in sweet smelling Queens, NY is by far the most fun we've ever had with our food. For those familiar with hot pot, this is not hot pot, its shabu-shabu...capisce?
Hot pot is customary in China, where as shabu-shabu is customary in Japan. With hot pot you can pretty much throw all your ingredients into the broth and let it work its magic. With shabu-shabu, the flavor reaches maximum potential when you add the ingredients one at a time and really let the broth soak it all up. Speaking of broths, we ordered four pots. A vegetarian, a spicy dashi, a pork bone and a plain dashi. Our favorite was definitely the spicy dashi.
As for the buffet items that go into said broths (see photo above), Spring shabu-shabu offers seasonal vegetables, fishcakes, dumplings, rice cakes, noodles and udons, and of course meat.
If you have issues with decision making, prepare to be faced with a lot of options. The noodles alone come in egg, spinach, pumpkin, plain, udon and more. We also jumped into the dumpling options with a little spinach and pork dumpling action.
The key is to put the slow-cooking ingredients in first. This is your veggies, your mushrooms, hell even your fish cakes! Let these sit the longest and the broth will absorb all the flavors.
Once thoroughly soaked and steamy, it's time for the meats. We got the Fatty Meat options. I don't know why anything with the word "fatty" in the title automatically catches my attention. Maybe I'm projecting suppressed childhood memories? Either way, I got two orders.
Once the broth is really boiling, the meat cooks up super fast. The key is to dunk the meat in and out of the broth until it cooks to your satisfaction. A shabu taboo is to over boil your broth which results in burning the bottom of your pot. In other news, if I ever get 2 goldfish for pets, I'm naming one Shabu and the other Taboo.
While you're dunking your meat (that's what she said?) you can also throw in the noodles at this time. The noodles cook surprisingly quick and really absorb all the flavors you added to the broth.
Shabu-shabu is great because you can keep it healthy with just veggies and fish, or you can do what we did and load it up with fatty meats and noodles! And if you're on a date and it get's awkward, just keep dunking that meat baby!