On the Cheap: Swish Shabu

Build your own meal, featuring the art of the hot pot
By KENDALL SALTER  |  August 22, 2012


Swish Shabu is tucked away on a serene stretch of Peterborough Street in the Fenway area. When I stopped by on a Monday evening, the restaurant was relatively quiet — only a few other customers at the assorted tables.

Swish Shabu offers primarily hot pot, in which hungry visitors can toss an assortment of meats and vegetables into some boiling broth, allowing it to cook to a desired level of deliciousness before happy consumption. One of the important things to know about hot pot is that it really isn't designed for solo enjoyment. First, they give you a lot of food, so unless you are a competitive-eating champion, you will need some assistance. Second, it is much more fun to throw an assortment of things into hot broth with loads of friends.

We first opted to try the house soup base, a traditional pork broth that comes free of charge. But since you get two soup-base choices, we also selected the spicier (and admittedly more adventurous) Tom Yum base ($3). This was a good choice — I highly recommend it. If you've never been to a hot-pot restaurant before, fear not. The menu is here to help, and will guide you through a step-by-step process of exactly how to order. Step #2 implored us to select some meat to cook in our soup bases, so we opted for one lamb combo ($13.50) and one beef combo ($12.50). The food was presented in a colorful assortment of platters and dishes, some containing sauces and other accoutrements. As you add meat to the broth, along with lettuce, spinach greens, carrots, corn, and other vegetables, the mixture of flavors becomes even richer.

But hot pot isn't all Swish Shabu has to offer. In addition to its headlining dish, the restaurant features a respectable selection of sushi. I couldn't turn that down, so we ordered both the grilled Boston maki ($5.95) and the shrimp tempura maki ($5.95), both excellent.

The service was friendly and efficient, the dining room comfortable and pleasant, and the food ultimately satisfying — all for an affordable price. I would recommend it to any hot-pot fans in the area.

SWISH-SHABU, located at 84-86 Peterborough Street, is open Sunday-Thursday from 11 am-11 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11 am-12 am. For more information, call 617.236.0255, or visit swish-shabu.com.

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  Topics: On The Cheap , Japan, dining, food,  More more >
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