READY To SWISH-SWISH: The hot pots at Shabuway are assembled from a variety of tasty ingredients. Photograph by Tyler Ngo
For an unusual first date or a fun place to take visitors in Santa Clara, Shabuway fits the bill nicely. The restaurant is chic but casual, and the wait staff is friendly and very attentive, but the main reason to try Shabuway is its distinctive style of serving food. Translated from the Japanese, “shabu-shabu” means “swish-swish,” which refers to the sound that beef makes when being swirled around in hot broth.
Shabuway’s menu focuses on the traditional Japanese hot pot. Customers generally choose from either seaweed or spicy miso broth. Indecisive customers can opt to have the two broths served side by side in a bowl with a curving divider that makes it look like a yin-yang symbol. Diners then select the kind of meat they want from an impressive list of cuts, each of which is served with rice and vegetable plates. There are also quite a few additions that can be made to the vegetable plates, including assorted mushrooms and ramen noodles.
After the orders are placed, the culinary interactivity begins. Servers bring out the selected broth and place it on a stove top located in the center of the table, where it simmers and swirls. The meat and veggies come next. These items are tossed into the steaming broth at the patrons’ leisure, creating a relationship between consumers and consumables that doesn’t often exist at other restaurants—except maybe at the few remaining fondue places.