Almost three dozen Irvine restaurants are participating in Irvine Restaurant Week, which is in full swing right now. It began on January 11 and lasts through January 17th. There are no tickets required. Just go to any of the participating restaurants, which are all listed on the Destination Irvine website. Irvine, conveniently located in the center of Orange County, California, is easily accessible within an hour or so from Los Angeles, San Diego or Riverside. Prix fixe specials for lunch and dinner are offered at special prices at each participating restaurant.
An example of one of the outstanding restaurants participating in Irvine Restaurant Week is SWSH Shabu Shabu. This unique restaurant is located in the Diamond Jamboree shopping center located at Alton Parkway and Jamboree Rd. This is a fascinating, international shopping and dining retail center which features boutiques, a bakery, a grocery store and restaurants, all with varying ethnic and cultural themes.
SWSH Shabu Shabu was founded in October, 2011, by a group of shabu shabu enthusiasts who decided to share their favorite meal with their community. “Shabu Shabu” is a popular Japanese dish where thinly sliced meats, fish and vegetables are “swished” in a cooking pot with boiling kelp water.
Since its beginning, SWSH Shabu Shabu has become a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Many customers (such as this reporter) happily drive an hour or more to visit this popular spot because of its fresh, unique cuisine. It’s a bit like taking a quick trip to Japan without hopping on a plane. For an hour or so, you are in another world.
The restaurant offers a variety of options for your shabu shabu meal, which you cook yourself on the table or bar right in front of you in a hot pot of seasoned boiling water. You can choose beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, all vegetables, or a combination for your meal. Customers have found SWSH to offer a delicious, healthy meal option and they enjoy the modern upscale atmosphere. The restaurant offers its own homemade ponzu and goma dipping sauces and sukiyaki and kombu soup bases to add zest and flavor to their meals. A delectable dessert option is a green tea or dark or milk chocolate fondue in which you dip luscious fruit or cake.
For Restaurant Week, Shabu Shabu is offering a two-course meal, including a beverage, starting at $15 for lunch and $20 for dinner. Appetizers for lunch or dinner include either edamame or fried gyoza. Entrees include Angus Short Rib or Kurobuta Pork, all served with rice and a wide variety of fresh, beautiful vegetables for dipping along with the meat entrée.
Other restaurants in the Diamond Jamboree participating in Irvine Restaurant Week include: Ajlsen Ramen, Capital Seafood, Papaya Thai Bistro, Sandwich Club, Chef Hung, Pho Saigon Perch. Reservations may not always be necessary for these restaurants, but are recommended.
Irvine Restaurant week is part of California Restaurant Month, designated by Visit California. California has more than 30 destinations participating throughout the state. All these destinations are listed on Visit California’s website. Some destinations have chosen to focus on the entire month and others have chosen to focus on different weeks so you can spend a month tasting throughout the state. Two more weeks to go! Happy tasting!