Heat Shabu Baru

2416 18th St

Sacramento, CA 95818

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Having tried Chinese hot pot before, we decided to now try Japanese hot pot as well. Heat Shabu Baru provides that Japanese hot pot experience by providing various menu options including all-you-can-eat and ordering meat by the plate options. Upon entering the modern-themed restaurant, you will either be quickly seated or need to wait for a table since people who choose the all-you-can-eat option have up to two hours to eat in the fairly small restaurant. Upon seating, we were quickly brought cups of ice water and the menu. Staff was attentive the entire time of the meal, and plenty of staff was present.

Today, we decided to opt for the all-you-can-eat option as well as an order of salt n’ pepper wings. The all-you-can-eat option may seem pricey, but when you think about how much meat you would have ordered individually, the all-you-can-eat seems like a good deal. Since we got to choose two soups from the choices of tom yum, miso, spicy miso, tonkotsu, and spicy tonkotsu, we decided to choose the miso and spicy tonkotsu so that we had a good balance. The miso broth on its own tasted light but did not really have much body in it like at other Japanese restaurants. The miso did not infuse much of any flavor into the meats. The spicy tonkotsu definitely carried a lot of heat from the peppers, and coupled with the fact that the soup was boiling, you definitely feel the heat. After cooking the meat for a while, some of the soup is lost to evaporation and from fishing out the meat, so servers are able to refill the soup as well. The salt n’ pepper wings were quite large and were presented nice, but I did not taste much flavor in the wings themselves. The wings did not taste marinated and barely tasted salty.

As for the meat choices themselves, you get to choose from American Kobe Beef, Australian Lamb, and Kurobuta Pork. The all-you-can-eat option does not include seafood or Wagyu Kobe Beef. All of the meat is sliced super-thin to allow fast cooking times. The American Kobe Beef tastes the best and cooks the fastest out of all the meat options. The quality of the beef varies in terms of the marbling for each time we ask for refills, but each order does taste tender and juicy after cooked. The Australian Lamb tasted fresh and had a slightly gamy flavor, which went well with the soup. The Kurobuta Pork was not as tender as the other two meats and did not have any flavor even after being cooked in the soup. In order to infuse more flavor into the meat, various dipping sauces were available including a soy-based sauce, peanut-based sauce, garlic, and green onion. I found that the peanut sauce was nice and light, but still has the peanut flavors. I preferred the soy-based sauce because it was also sweet and sour. The sauce makes the juicy meat even juicier. You also get a side of vegetables and ramen with rice as an option as well.

Overall, Heat Shabu Baru serves up high quality meats with accompanying soups while providing great service. Servers have no problem providing refills to the table for meat at all. We continuously ordered refills of all three meats for at least 5 rounds. Although the focus was on the meat, we also ordered refills on ramen and vegetables. By cooking the meat simply in the soup, the meal becomes more healthy since you aren’t eating the meat with a bunch of sauce or preservatives. If you haven’t tried hot pot before, then Heat Shabu Baru will be a great experience with great meat quality. The meal is more enjoyable through the cooking experience coupled with simple sauces and soups. Although I do feel that the meal was quite pricey, the experience is worth it once in a while.

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