California Shabu has been my go-to for the past 9 years. (Since 7th grade in middle school!!) I usually go once a week, yes...I am THAT addicted. It's sad to say though, that through the years the price at California Shabu Shabu has skyrocketed. Obviously, prices need to be adjusted to match the current market price and such but I think at $19 for the most basic choice beef (9 slices), it is a little over priced. I still go though, but with a heavy sigh.
I like my hot pot with either seaweed broth or clear water-based broth (shabu!!) And after trying many locations, I feel that California Shabu Shabu are the only (casual) ones that keep their Japanese roots real. (There are obviously formal, fancier, and more expensive places that serve traditional shabu such as Kagaya in dtla).
Normally, the Fountain Valley location is the main spot I hit up because they give more vegetables, and the crowd eats and leaves after they're done. The Costa Mesa location (the one I'm blogging about today) is more casual and filled with a younger crowd that tends to drink, chat, and eat at the same time...taking longer at the spots...A.K.A. I have to wait longer for seats. I think the last time I came here was with Chloe♥ we came out for a lunch date.
The walls are ?hand? painted with cute, bright, Japanese-esque cartoon drawings. It's pretty hip inside, plus it's location near the Camp and the LAB anti-mall draws a very unique and younger crowd. Like I said, excellent place to grab food with friends if you're into the urban vibe/scene.
They used to have another location in Santa Monica, but they changed ownership so it's not under the same chain anymore, but it's still really similar, they just changed their ponzu recipe, and added sukiyaki....(yeah I made my friends and me get dinner there the last time we were in LA because I'm such a shabu dictator >:) )
Mmmmm looking at this last picture make me hungry :(