Forget the cheese fondue or the tabletop Korean barbecue for your next date night — interactive cuisine just got so much more exciting. Tremont’s Ushabu offers guests a fun way to play with their food thanks to shabu-shabu, the traditional Japanese hot pot cuisine. Dunk fresh, thinly sliced meats, veggies and noodles into a boiling pot of broth to create the perfect fondue-style meal and satisfy your cook-your-own food fix. But with so many tasty components, this dish can be tricky to navigate correctly. Here are some tips on how to cook like a pro.
Take Stock: General manager Michael Flaherty suggests shabu-shabu beginners start with the classic kombu base made of dried Japanese kelp that’s been steeped for 30 minutes for a subtle savor. “It’s the most traditional,” he says. “It’s the taste of the sea and has natural glutamines that give it the flavor and quality.”
Produce Delivery: When it comes to the giant plate of seasonal mushrooms, radish, corn, cabbage, bok choy and other vegetables, make sure to start cooking them in the broth early so they’re tender and ready to eat with your meat. “You want to get them in there as soon as you can to get as much flavor as possible,” explains Flaherty.
Animal Instinct: There’s a delicate balance to cooking your meat. “Shabu-shabu literally translates to swish-swish,” says Flaherty. “Ideally you just run the meat through the broth for a few seconds at a time.” Once the broth has cooked your thinly cut protein, such as marbled wagyu beef ($23) or Berkshire pork ($20), feel free to dip it into a sauce and eat with a spoonful of rice.
Simmer Down: Save your udon noodles for last. After you’ve finished cooking your protein and vegetables, throw the noodles in the empty broth and enjoy. “Shabu-shabu is not really a soup — that’s a big misconception about it,” he says. “The udon is typically saved for last because that is when it has the most flavor.”
Bite Club: The side of rice and sauces are just as important. To craft the perfect bite, ladle a spoonful of broth onto your rice, add your meat and veggies, then finish with the citrus soy-based ponzu sauce for a bit more zest. “You can eat everything with a spoonful of rice if you want,” says Flaherty. “It’s like pairing food with wine — it’s the balance of the bite.”