Spaghetti with bottarga, the must-order at La Ciccia.
The forecast might say low of 36 degrees and rain, but turn that frown upside down because it means it’s a hot pot kind of night. I’ve been a fan of Mums, the shabu shabu institution in Japantown for a while now, but the other night, I tried out Nabe (nah-bay)—a newcomer located in the Inner Sunset.
Outfitted with modern furniture, walls of sake, and a long communal table inlaid with burners, it’s a sleek sliver of a spot. The best part is the fact that the street front window is made of floor-to-ceiling glass, which means as the hot pots start bubbling, the glass gets all steamy. It makes it feel like you’re in your own little soupy spa.
Named after nabemono (nabe means pot; mono means things)—a term that refers to all kinds of Japanese hot pot dishes—the restaurant serves a few different options. We chose the sukiyaki with Washugyu beef (a cross between Japanese black wagyu and the American Black Angus) and shirataki noodles and a spicy miso broth, as well as the seasonal nabemono with duck breast and soba with a dashi broth. To show how far our sustainable movement has reached, the menu here states that the meats here come from animals raised without antibiotics or growth hormones, the veggies are organic, and the tofu is GMO-free.
There’s nothing prettier than a table filled to the brim with plates of thin slices of rosy red raw beef, noodles, mushrooms, cabbage, spinach, mushrooms, and more, all just waiting to be dipped into the broth. It makes you feel good about yourself just looking at it. Cool off with cold sake, and once you’ve eaten your fill, the server will come by and offer to take the now tasty broth and mix it with rice and egg and top it with green onions and nori. Say yes. It might be the most delicious part of the night.
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