Up until now, each episode of Omakase has centered around one of the many iterations of the style, including sushi, tempura, and kaiseki, but a shabu-shabu omakase was unheard of, both in the series and around the world — until chef Mako Okano and her team decided they wanted to do for shabu-shabu what had been done for sushi. Behind an eight-seat counter at her New York City restaurant Shabu Shabu Macoron, Okano is specializing in the Japanese hot pot tradition.
Traditionally in shabu-shabu, the meat and vegetables are briefly boiled in a subtle broth; Okano is careful not to cook any ingredient for too long, and lightly drops each piece in the broth for a few seconds. “Shabu-shabu is the onomatopoeia for this action,” explains Okano; in English, “shabu-shabu” means swish-swish. “The difference between our omakase and other omakase styles is that every dish on the menu is unified by the term shabu-shabu.”
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