Lunchtime is the Best Time For Shabu Shabu House on Sawtelle


It’s no secret why sushi is the hardest lunch to reconcile with our intense desire to keep things under $10 during the midday meal.  Raw fish isn’t cheap, nor do you really want it to be.  But sushi isn’t the only Japanese food that is hard to come by for less than a Hamilton. Shabu shabu has proven elusive as well, for some reason.  All you can eat Korean BBQ seems to have no problem serving up endless plates of thinly sliced meat, ready to be grilled, for $9.99.  But take that meat and dip it in boiling water with some veggies and the price almost doubles.  Maybe that’s why the only shabu shabu place we’ve found that hits the $10 mark is in Koreatown. 

But K-town’s Khan Shabu Shabu has some competition now that Shabu Shabu House has opened on Sawtelle, from the good people at SushiStop. That’s right- the cheap sushi specialists of West L.A. have branched out into Shabu Shabu.


The menu doesn’t quite hit the $10 mark but it’s close enough.  And your options are pretty simple. Right now they just have one kind of beef.


Large is on the left, small is on the right.


It’s tough to turn down 50% more meat for 1/6th the price (how could you not!?!) but once you factor in all the veggies, tofu, udon and rice they give you, a small is filling enough for those who want to keep their lunch costs low.


If you’ve never had shabu shabu it’s pretty simple.  You swish your meat in the boiling water, dip it into one of the sauces, eat and repeat.  Same goes with the veggies, but the water comes out pretty much completely unseasoned so you’ll want to let some of your veggies boil away to give the broth some kind of flavor.  There’s also scallions, garlic, and grated daikon that can be added to your two sauces, or the broth if you’re into that sort of thing. In theory, the ponzu soy sauce  is there for the meat, the white sesame paste sauce is there for the veggies, but truth me told, there are no real rules to Shabu Shabu.  Just do what you like with what they give you.

If you’re patient, by the time you’re done boiling the veggies and the meat your water should now be a pretty tasty soup.  Toss your udon in, ask for a bowl and slurp that up.  They also have soy sauce hiding behind the counter, which is kind of needed.  None of the sauces are particularly delicious, and the meat isn’t particularly flavorful.  But for $12.50 it’s kind of a steal for shabu shabu, especially for the westside.  And plenty tasty enough- for sure.  Going for dinner and spending $16.50 or more?  No thanks.


They have plans to possibly add more options as time goes on depending on how things go. The first one popped up a few weeks ago and price-wise it’s kind of a steal.  They’re now doing a chicken lunch special for just $7!  Obviously using slices of white meat chicken are going to lose you points in the flavor department, but you get the same amount of veggies- and what you lose in meaty flavor you gain in value.  For $7, this lunch special might be one of the best deals on Sawtelle right now.

Shabu Shabu House by SushiStop, 2218 Sawtelle Blvd. 310-479-1001


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