Epic All-You-Can-Eat Hot Pot Wagyu at Nabezo Tokyo

by Jul 12, 2017

What is Tokyo Shabu Shabu?

Tokyo shabu shabu holds a special place in my heart, or rather my stomach as it were. Shabu shabu in English means swish swish (as in the swishing motion one cooks the meat in the hot pot). As other great universal soul warming foods go, it can go by many names depending on what part of the world you are in:

  • Hong Kong steam boat
  • Cambodian yao hon
  • Mainland Chinese chonquing
  • Generic boiling tasty water

Whatever name you know it by, they all hit the same spot in your being no matter the cultural flavor spin put on it! It is essentially a pot filled with a liquid that boils, raw meats and vegetables are quickly cooked in it, and then there’s a sauce to dip the cooked item in before dropping it onto your palate. Many countries have their own versions of it either involving something sweet, something salty, something else altogether; something to cater to whatever you fancy.

Either which way, IT’S ALL DELICIOUS!

With that being said, the way we discovered this vestige of Asian cooking was during our last visit to Tokyo. Nadia and I had sought out a place to eat as we typically do because you have to eat. We always figured that we might as well eat something tasty.

We found this restaurant online and decided to go check it out since we were in the neighborhood. The fresh vegetables, tasty broths, amazing meats and endless ice cream left such an impression on us that when we found out her parents during our visit, we figured we’d bring them for some awesome Tokyo shabu shabu.

Nabezo Dipping Sauce Tray of Garlic, Green Onion, Sesame Oil

What is Nabezo?

Just from my research, Nabe is short for the Japanese word Nabemono, means cooking pot. Zo, which puts emphasis on the word making this “Cookin Pot!” Their website does point out that their meaning is Pot Elephant…. I like my version better but that’s just me. But what’s in a name?

Honestly, they could have called it “Metal Container” or “Have Stomach, Will Fill” or whatever, so as long as it tastes just as great. To be fair, with a name like Pot Elephant, one should expect big things other than simply being All You Can Eat. Their top of the line ingredients speak volumes for themselves:

“Rich shabu shabu broth uses the thick extract from carefully selected oxtail….

Ponzu sauce, we added the flavors of bonito, giant kelp and bitter oranges…

Sesame sauce, we create a deep flavor by adding walnuts and peanuts…”

I’m hungry simply from reading that….

Where is Nabezo?

Long story short, Nabezo is in Tokyo. They have branches all over the place. To make things a touch more confusing is that they have 4 branches in Shinjuku alone. And of course, we initially went to the wrong one.

That is why, when you are in a new place, we always try to get our bearings instead of heading off in some random direction that you hope is the right way. It could be the right way, but there’s 359 possible wrong directions one could easily take.

Do yourself a favor and figure out the lay of the land:

  • what direction you are facing
  • most importantly where you are going.

Once you figure that out, then you are fast on your way to, in our case, the shabu of your dreams.

This particular location where we made reservations was not the one I had in mind which was very close to the train station. As it turned out, this specific Shinjuku location is close to one of the many train station exits (Shinjuku Sanchome Station – Marunouchi Subway Line, A5 Exit).

Unfortunately, our parents got lost as well. Well, to be more specific, they were in the right area but unfortunately asked someone who thought they knew where it was. The perfect stranger insisted that she knew since she had lived in Tokyo for quite sometime. What we didn’t know was that she was leading them to the wrong location; oddly the same wrong location where I tried to initially go.

Nabezo Shinjuku Dual Broth Pot Shabu shabu Sukiyaki

What to Get?

They don’t have many choices to order from but whatever you decide, you get 100 minutes of eating:

  • Nabezo Course – Standard Pork, Meat and Vegetables
  • Beef Tongue Course – Nabezo course plus beef tongue
  • Japanese Beef and Pork Course – Nabezo course plus higher quality beef and pork * We got this*

Nabezo Tray of Sliced Hot Pot Wagyu

Paying for Everything You Ate

One of my pet peeves about traveling is form of payment. You will always here me rant and rave about certain venues accepting cash but not credit card. I get that some smaller venues choose not to incur plastic surcharges and that is perfectly ok.

But if you are charging me half of last month’s rent, you best not be expecting me to be coming in with a bag full of cash like I just robbed a bank to pay for the meal. It’s a convenience factor which I’ve been forced from time to rare time venture forth into the night solo while my other eating partners are held hostage till my hopefully, successfully from foraging for hard currency.

You won’t hear me bitch and moan about Nabezo.

They take card. Done n done!

‎¥4600 yen  a person (roughly $40 USD at the time of eating)

Would We Come Here Again?

As with most places, I typically have to consider everything as part of the experience.

  • Was the food good?
    • It was definitely tasty
  • Was the service good?
    • When the place was full, it can get a little slow
  • How much was it?
    • It wasn’t too expensive a the time, but since we have been there before, we knew it was worth it.
  • What were the clientele like?
    • Fun groups that can be a little loud who were just as hungry as we were
  • What was the environment like?
    • A somewhat large place centered around your group and the food
  • Are there other things on the menu that sounds interesting that I didn’t get to try this time around?
    • Didn’t get the beef tongue….
  • Etc Etc, so on and so forth.

After taking that all into consideration, we really like it. What’s not to like? We even brought her parents there and they liked it to0. They were surprised by how good the sukiyaki was compared to how they had it at another place in another country. What I’m trying to say is that we have, and will come back again!



Where’s your favorite Tokyo All-You-Can-Eat?

You're going to eat, you might as well eat something tasty.
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