shabu ya + grafton street in harvard square

We normally don’t make plans to go out on Valentine’s night because a) they tend to jack up prices at restaurants; b) there’s usually just a prix fixe menu; and c) it gets crowded wherever you go. But since we were already out and about in the area and getting hungry, I suggested that we have dinner at this place called Shabu Ya. My boss and I had gone there the day before for lunch and I thought the shabu-shabu experience was something that Tony would enjoy. Plus the sushi I had was quite delicious, too.

Top: Elissa’s shabu pot; bottom: my sushi rolls

We walked in around 5:30 pm and it wasn’t that crowded yet. Tony got the beef sirloin shabu which came with a variety of vegetables, and he chose the Thai tom yum broth. He said it was kind of too spicy, so he’ll probably just go with the regular broth next time. You can get the whole pot of the one broth, or split it two ways. We split it two ways and asked to keep one half with just plain water so that I could try the beef, too. They give you a really yummy ponzu sauce to dip the cooked meat in, but I tasted it and it seemed more like a finadene to me. It’s amazing how quickly the meat cooks up since it’s sliced so thinly (like one minute – seriously!).

I ordered the chirashi sushi dish instead of the same rolls I had the day before. It was good, but next time I think I’ll go back to the rolls, or split the shabu dish using the plain water option.

The nice thing is that they have a liquor license and they offer beer, wine and sake. The decor is quite colorful and retro – quite different from the Malaysian restaurant that used to be there. I found this You Tube video that someone made of it back in December:

Afterwards, we walked over to Grafton Street for dessert. We decided to sit at the bar and luckily found two seats as another couple left. I had a glass of Malbec and Tony had a Muscat, and we laughed when we sized the glasses up to one another. We wanted to split the raspberry cheesecake and asked the bartender to ask the kitchen to put the raspberry sauce on the side after explaining how I am allergic to them. When it arrived, we realized that they actually baked the raspberry in the cheesecake so I ordered their chocolate cake as a substitute. Both desserts were really good and we were both quite embarrassed by the fact that we managed to clean our own plates. 🙂


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