San Francisco: Shabu-Sen

The Sunday morning before last found us stuck in traffic on Embarcadero.  We knew driving into SF that traffic would be insane due to day two of Pride festivities,  but we had no choice but to face it head on as we had to drop my dad's business partner and his friends off at Pier 35 for their Alaska cruise.

Since I live right on Market, we knew it would be suicidal to try to drop me off while Pride was in full swing.  (For those of you who don't know what I mean, the Pride Parade went straight down Market St and on top of that, my apartment building is also located across from the Civic Center, where all the booths and other fun stuff were stationed.)

Instead, my parents and I took a little detour to Chrissy Field and Fort Point.  After walking around and taking some pictures, we decided to swing by Japantown for lunch.  On the way, we picked up AF.

We didn't really know what was good to eat in Japantown, so we went with something that was familiar, Shabu-Sen:

My mom and I'd been to Shabu-Sen before with my ahyi, who is somewhat of a regular.  I requested that we be moved from a table to the counter so that we could each have our own individual gas stove:

There's basically two options at Shabu-Sen: shabu shabu or sukiyaki.

My dad and AF chose the shabu shabu:

According to AF, the broth was a tad bland, which is unfortunate because the broth is the most important part of hot pot.

The veggie platter was decent though:

As was the sliced beef:

AF ordered the regular size shabu shabu, while my dad went with the large.  The only difference between the regular and the large is really a few slices of meat, which doesn't really justify the $3 gap in my mind.

My mom and I both wanted the sukiyaki:

The ingredients of sukiyaki is the same as that of shabu shabu, but instead of broth, everything is cooked in a soy sauce mixture in a shallow iron pot.

Like the shabu shabu, our sukiyaki came with a bowl of rice.  But in addition to that, we also got an egg:

Apparently you're supposed to dip the sukiyaki ingredients into a bowl of raw, beaten egg, but I elected to crack the egg directly into the pot.

Some people go to Shabu-Sen for their all-you-can-eat shabu shabu/sukiyaki, but it's way too pricey in my opinion.  The last time I was at Shabu-Sen, I remember having the sliced meat brought to me on a separate plate instead of directly in the sukiyaki pot, which was much better because having the meat directly in the pot resulted in overcooked beef.  Not pleasant.

A somewhat disappointing lunch, but that's generally the way I feel about Japantown in SF as a whole.  When there's no festival or event going on, Japantown tends to be a little...deserted.  Even the food is just mediocre.  But maybe I just haven't been dining at the right restaurants.  Any recommendations?  

1726 Buchanan St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 440-0466


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