Considering the resurgence of fondue as a chic, tasty means of social dining, it’s no wonder some of us have jumped at the chance to have our meals cooked tableside. Whether involving fondue forks or chopsticks, Emmental and kirsch, or kelp broth and tentsuyu sauce, hot pots are, well, hot.
Now Coolidge Corner’s Shabu Village offers another dimension in the widening array of authentic local Asian restaurants, and this one specializes in Japan’s famous shabu-shabu soup. Named for the swishing noise made when thinly sliced raw meats swirl around in bubbling broth — “shabu-shabu” translates as “swish-swish” — this Japanese comfort food is a refreshing alternative to maki rolls and sashimi. Pick your protein — beef ($11–$19) is traditional and the most flavorful — and either noodles or rice, and your shabu-shabu kit, complete with dipping sauces, aromatics, chilies, and a stack of veggies, will arrive momentarily. In a culinary display of symbiosis, the broth gently braises the meat as the meat strengthens the mild broth.
The rest of the menu, although somewhat in the shabu-shabu’s shadow, is equally delicious. Delicate shrimp shumai ($4.95), edamame ($4.25), and kushi-age ($5.75) — tempura-fried pieces of shrimp, scallops, and vegetables — are excellent picks from the lengthy list of appetizers. And those who can’t resist the ultimate deal, a bountiful dinner box ($15.95), won’t be disappointed. A choice of two protein preparations served with fresh seaweed salad, ginger-miso-dressed vegetables, miso soup, white rice, and fresh fruit will surely lure you back.
Shabu Village, 417 Harvard Street, in Brookline | Daily, 11:30 am-3 pm, 5-10 pm | 617.566.0888.