1253 Penman Rd
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
I have only been to this spot once, about a year ago, I was so unimpressed there was never a reason to return. Now a year latter, and the promise of fresh Ramen noodles, and Shabu Shabu what ever that is, I am back with some of my best foodie crew to give it another try. This particular night despite the rain the place was packed. The space is quite large, full bar, one room full of habachi tables, a roomy sit at the counter sushi bar, booths and tables to accommodate large parties, that was us.
Once we were all assembled, drink orders taken and received, we started ordering. I was not familiar with Shabu Shabu, so my friend explained, large servings of veggies, and meat, a cook top on the table, broth set at the boil, and start cooking. I was on board for this. First up a few appetizers for the table. A Japaneese styly pancake, that was looking quite strange on arrival, served in a cast iron type pan, but once it was sliced and served it was this steaming wonderfulness of veggies and pork in a most tasteful batter. The serving here was large enough to share between the twelve of us.
We also shared Soft Shell Crab and Some Seaweed Salad, both nice and well presented. So far the food is well beyond that, of my last experience, and we still have the main to go.
Once our entree “fixings” started to arrive those of us who were Shabu novices were transfixed. A huge plate containing several varieties of mushrooms, Napa cabbage, onions, tofu, it was difficult not to just pluck the food from the tray to eat it fresh.
The freshest of veggies for the Shabu
Accompanying the veggies, an equally large platter of thinly sliced sirloin, that will also be added to the pot. Large bowls of Udon noodles were also presented. Several varieties of sauce to flavor the broth or used to dip the cooked food are also placed for us.
There were two pots, at our table so that meant two monster plates of veggies and two monster plates of meat. Once everything was in place our server turned on the pots, poured the broth and we were ready. We began cooking the veggies, first, then the meat, the tofu, and last the noodles, stirring the entire time. It was amazing, we were all into this. This is what it looks like while cooking.
More broth was ordered as well as more meat, we totally decimated all of the food. As if we did not have enough , there was also a serving of Japanese Curry and a bowl of Pork Belly Ramen.
Although the Curry looked interesting, it was heavy with Five Spice flavor, to the point of not being good, and the meat tough, but the pork was good.
The ramen was everything I had hoped it would be, broth rich and so very flavorful not too salty, large pieces of melt in the mouth pork belly, perhaps not the best noodles I have ever tasted, but the best I have had in this town.
So my thoughts, it was a good thing to return and try several different dishes, I know I will certainly be back for ramen, and give the sushi another try. Bring your friends, experience the feast of Shabu Shabu!