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One of the Sunset's many shabu shabu restaurants, G Club Cafe specializes in a Chinese-influenced Japanese hot pot in which you swish thin slices of meat through hot broth. Its lime-green and purple walls and J-pop karaoke videos on the TV are designed for 20-something parties - if you can't help singing along, you can move to a karaoke room in back - but the meal lends itself to quiet conversation with friends. There are all-you-can-eat options, and even an all-you-can-eat-and-drink one (with a two-hour time limit), but the set meals are big enough for one. The waitress will bring out a pot of bubbling miso broth and a few dipping sauces, along with cabbage, tofu, noodles, and mushrooms to cook in the broth. The ribeye, lamb, and kurobuta pork is so swirled with fat it looks as if was picked for their ability to mesmerize the hallucinogen-addled, and cooks up instantly.
As we sat at the bar in Shabu Pub, a procession of implements arrived, and the black-lacquered slab before us was transformed into the altar for an elaborate ritual whose rites we hadn't yet learned. First came the propane burner, then a bucket... More »
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