There’s nothing sad about a table for one in Japan, where solo dining counters and booths make you feel like you’re dining out in a home away from home, where no one expects you. help with cooking or cleaning afterwards.
Our reporter Yuuichiro Wasai is a huge fan of solo dining, so when he heard about a restaurant chain called Hitori Shabu Shabu Ichi (Solo Shabu Shabu One), he couldn’t think of a better place for lunch.
Our self-proclaimed “table pro” brought great expertise to his solo lunch, and it actually turned out to be a one-of-a-kind experience that solo diners will fall in love with.
▼ The noren curtain at the entrance to the restaurant reads: “Solo Shabu Shabu” with “ichi” written in the red box in the lower corner.
Entering the restaurant reveals a very unusual setup, and diners’ eyes will immediately be drawn to the central conveyor belt, where meat dishes spin around the counter like fish in a sushi restaurant.
The meat conveyor belt filled Yuuichiro’s heart with joy, as he hadn’t expected to see a sushi conveyor belt set up in a shabu shabu establishment. While partitions can be inserted next to diners to separate them at the counter, the restaurant was empty when Yuuichiro visited.
As soon as he settled into his seat, Yuuichiro felt like a king watching a feast of meat pass by, and each dish was covered with a “cold storage dome” to ensure that the pieces were left over. interior stay cool.
Yuuichiro was seriously impressed with the wide variety of meats on offer, which covered not only beef but also other specialties like pork loin, chicken meatballs, duck loin and lamb loin.
▼ Yuuichiro started his hot meal with a serving of duck loin. The quality of the meat here was on par with high end shabu shabu restaurants, and once he started picking up food from the conveyor belt he couldn’t stop.
One thing he highly recommends trying is the beef tongue shabu shabu, which he has never had before. Dipping the beef tongue in the pot for a moment gave it a tender texture, and the combination turned out to be so incredibly flavorful that Yuuichiro believes it should become a signature dish for the chain.
According to Yuuichiro, eating alone at shabu shabu restaurants can be a bit of a letdown, as each serving of meat is so large that it tends to limit the variety you can order. Here, however, the portions are specially designed for one person, so it’s easy to enjoy all kinds of cuts of beef, pork, chicken, lamb and duck all at once.
▼ It’s a game-changer for solo diners, and with all-you-can-eat specials starting at 1,000 yen for 60 minutes, it’s a great deal too.
The 1,000 yen offer covers all-you-can-eat broth and small bowls, with meat dishes billed separately. Yuuichiro therefore opted for the 90-minute all-you-can-eat class of meat and small bowls for 2,500 yen. yen. For those with more time, there’s a two-hour all-you-can-eat class for 4,000 yen and a two-hour all-you-can-eat special for 980 yen.
▼ The “little bowls,” which typically cost 100 yen each, contain rice with meaty toppings to help keep you full at the end of your meal.
▼ The little bowls change every day, so you never know what surprises are waiting for you when you visit.
At the end of his 90-minute feast, Yuuichiro’s bill was 3,465 yen, with the extra cost on top of the all-you-can-eat price going to things like two types of fondue broth, as well as mushrooms and slices. onion.
The billing system can be a bit complicated for first-time visitors, but the staff will be happy to explain all plans and prices for additional extras. For the quality of everything on offer and the quantity he ate, Yuuichiro was more than happy with the price he paid for his meal and highly recommend it to solo diners.
After opening its first branch in Nishi-Shinjuku in October 2019, the chain has now expanded to Kobe and Okinawa from this month, so we hope more locations will be added in the near future.
Related: Hitori Shabu Shabu Ichi
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