You Be The Chef: A Dining Experience at Shabu-Ya

Jane Seo

"I'm too busy" is never a good excuse to skimp on exciting and delicious food escapades. In this new series, explore the culinary scene of Boston and Cambridge with Jane, your Crimson foodie who may be picky, but will still try anything on the plate at least once (except maybe chicken feet).

Diners are invited to be chefs when they order shabu shabu, a Japanese version of hot pot, at Shabu-Ya. The entrée comes with a choice of protein, a platter of vegetables that includes lettuce, cabbage, corn, tofu, carrots, and mushroom, as well as a choice of udon noodles, clear noodles, or a bowl of rice. Diners dunk the ingredients into a boiling broth and then dip them into a special salty sauce. Shabu shabu is a fun experience if you have never tried it, but the vegetables at Shabu-Ya were not very fresh and the broth tasted bland.

In addition to shabu shabu, I tasted two other dishes. The Red Sox Maki ($12.95), made with big chunks of tuna and avocado with tobiko on top, was presented with generous swirls of spicy mayo underneath. The sushi roll itself was very simple. The tuna was quite fresh, and the crunchiness of the tobiko balanced out the mushiness of the avocado.

The Scallion Pancake ($9.95), thin and greasy, was a disappointment. The pancake did not have enough scallions and tasted too floury.

Oh, and one more note: If you want to enjoy your meal without the background noise of college students pounding on the table and yelling, "Ichi, ni, san, sake bomb!" make sure to visit Shabu-Ya for lunch.