The concept of the hot pot cooking has claimed a spot in the trendy dining scene for the past decade. However, this communal activity has roots dating from thousands of years ago in China. Traditionally, a boiling kettle of plain broth was presented at the center of the table and diners added their choices of meats and vegetables to slowly cook.
As this method spread throughout Asia, new variations of broth and soup ingredients were invented. The popularity of hot pot cooking later made its way into Japan during the 20th century and has since been referred to as shabu-shabu.
Although Sacramento is not bereft of places to experience hot pot cooking, there is no other spot for this culinary delight than at Heat Shabu Baru.
Heat Shabu, with its modern interior and friendly staff, is a class act in regards to food quality, customer service and presentation. To gain the full experience, ordering the all-you-can eat shabu for $31 per person is highly recommended. If you fancy sake or beer with your meal, then you are in luck, as there is a $41 per person all-you-can-eat shabu and drink available.
Either all-you-can eat shabu option includes your choice of two broths served side by side, rice, noodles, dipping sauces, Australian lamb, Kurobuta pork and American Kobe beef along with crisp vegetables, including cabbage and enokitake mushrooms. There is an additional cost for seafood or imported Wagyu Kobe beef which, by the way, is absolutely heavenly.
All meats are served perfectly sliced and so artfully arranged that they resemble delectable sashimi slices, tempting you to eat them raw. If you are not a fan of lamb, you must step outside of that comfort zone and try it at Heat Shabu. Once cooked in the broth, the gaminess that you may expect is non-existent and the meat amazing. The dinner is completed with a scoop of creamy, green tea ice cream topped with tiny mochi.
Happy Hour is offered Monday through Friday from 4 - 6:30 p.m. with 15% off your total bill. In addition, cocktail drinks are reduced to $4 and all beers on tap are $2. If you are adventurous, request the owner's Custom Special ($12), a liquid concoction served in a tall, wavy jar which will be sure to make you feel warmer than the broth did.
Specials are offered periodically, so be sure to keep updated by visiting Heat Shabu on Facebook. Many delicious Japanese-inspired appetizers are also served here.
Heat Shabu is a true slow-eating atmosphere, so come prepared to take your time and enjoy good conversation with your dining partners. This is a perfect spot for date nights or small group dining. For groups larger than 5, it is recommended you call ahead for space availability or reservations at (916) 930-9888. Parking is available both on the street and behind the restaurant with access on 18th Street. Opening time is at 4 pm Tuesday through Saturday and at 5 pm on Sunday. It is closed on Monday.