After a visit to the neighboring Little Sheep, I figured King Shabu Shabu would be close enough. Only a couple of blocks and a complex separate the two, after all, but it turns out the hot pot was worlds apart.
My first issue with King Shabu started when I first sat down...in front of a boiling pot of just plain water. Sure, the meat and veggies will cook just fine in any medium, but where is the flavorful broth to season them?
Despite the slower start, the Angus Ribeye and the Lamb were of undeniable quality and were packed with flavor, even if the broth was not. The thing is, just a single plate of either costs almost as much as an unlimited meal at Little Sheep.
The Veggie Plate comes with every order of meat, and the enoki mushrooms, Napa cabbage, and tofu do cover all the bases, but the selection still leaves a bit to be desired. I don't care for boiled carrots, for example, and it would have been nice to have more choices.
The Udon noodles are always the best way to finish, as they steep in the water, which is now infused with veggies and meat. But to really give it a kick you have to know which of the oils to add and how many drops to drip. And for that you just have to hope that your server is in a helpful mood.
You would think that when two different cultures converge into one literal melting pot, they would reach some kind of consensus, but that just didn't happen here between the Mongolians and the Japanese. King Shabu Shabu may be a bit more polished than Little Sheep, but is the cost really worth a little service?