Tuesday, March 17, 2015


It didn't open to a large fanfare and may still be quite under-the-radar, something we liked.  The Japanese Hotpot experience may not be the next big wave in dining nor do I believe that it will proliferate (like the cupcake or more upscale fast food burger spots) but it is fun nonetheless and this new venue offers a slightly different take in a sleek, modern space with a cool vibe.  So, when we were invited to dine here and having limited hotpot experience, we thought we'd give it a try.  It is Shabumaru.

The Hotpot meal is just what it sounds like, a boiling pot of broth into which one dips a variety of foods to steam or cook.  Typically, there would be one, large communal pot so it is often a favorite with groups of friends or family.  Here, each diner gets his own pot.  One begins with the choice of chicken or vegetable broth, most likely dictated by what you will choose to dip.  Next. pails of fresh veggies and condiments like garlic and green onion are brought out to add to the broth, to your taste, and get things going.  The staff is very helpful and more than willing to walk the newbie through it.

A choice of appetizers is offered.  This Japanese Sausage was quite good.  In addition to the condiments both ponzu and sesame sauces are served for additional flavor.

Shumai was another appetizer that we sampled and also quite good, not too firm or gooey with a flavorful filling.

We went with the Ribeye, thin, flaky slices of highly-marbled meat, to dunk into the chicken broth for literally a few seconds, less than a minute at most but it's quite fun to experiment.

We also tried the Seafood Platter, dipped into the veggie broth, which I really loved.  Shrimp, Lobster, Salmon, Scallops and some very nice Fish Cakes were all included.  It may seem like light dining, especially for one who is chopsticks impaired, like me, but it was actually quite filling and I loved the fact that one can use the condiments and broth to play with the flavors.

We'd highly suggest trying the risotto.  You may be thrown off your regular dining routine by the fact that it comes at the end of the meal, after the veggies, meats and seafood have been dredged and devoured.  The remaining broth is roiled to a frothy heat, the rice is thrown in and within minutes a thick, porridge like dish is served.  It was absolutely delicious, the best part of the meal.

I'm sure that the flavor is different every time but ours was infused with an umami richness that seemed to coat every grain of rice.  At least one person at the table should order this.  Everyone should try a taste.

The Mochi dessert left us wanting more, as well.  Cheesecake is also on the menu, leaving us curious.  Perhaps next time.

Wagyu Beef options are available at a hefty $30.00, not outrageous, and there are no mixed drinks, only beer and wine, simplifying the beverage choices.  The eclectic soundtrack is chosen by the staff and added to the fun. A small venue, beautifully designed, it offered a very fun, quirky, cool oasis.

10 Huntington Avenue
Westin Hotel
Boston, MA  02116
Telephone:  617.437.8888

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