This week I convinced my boyfriend that we needed to get out of our food rut. After too many weeks of pizza and Chipotle, my palate (and my waistband) were anxious for a change.
A new restaurant on Pitt’s campus, Top Shabu-Shabu & Lounge, is a hot pot place—something I never even knew existed. I tried to do some research before going to avoid being a total noob, but as you’ll see, I still had my moments.
#SpoonTip: For anyone else who’s a total hot pot noob, here’s a quick run down for ya.
This place is super clean and modern, with large tables that have spaces for hot pots at each individual seat. Shabu-Shabu also has Korean BBQ, but we went with the hot pot this time.
To start, each person picks their own individual broth from a few options (I went with the white broth). Then, you choose from a LOOOONG list of ingredients, with meats, seafood, vegetables, noodles, and more.
There are an insane number of choices, from regular lamb and chicken to pig blood and chicken gizzards. My boyfriend wanted to get chicken, but I insisted we be slightly more adventurous, and we ended up with lamb, quail eggs, broccoli, shrimp, spinach, and udon noodles.
This place also has a crazy sauce bar with a bunch of options that you can mix and match. Let me stress that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. With that being said, I mixed some chili sauce, sesame paste, a bit of soy sauce, and cilantro, and it was delicious.
The boyfriend and I sat next to each other in the booth, which usually I would be opposed to (because that’s awkward), but it made it super easy to share all of the ingredients and make a ridiculosuly awesome hot pot.
The place is great for groups for two reasons: the big tables seat about 6, and the “family style” of sharing hot pot ingredients means you get to try A LOT of crazy things.
You pay a base price for the broth and pick items from the menu a la carte, or (and this is definitely the best option) it’s $19.99/person for a 2-hour all-you-can-eat buffet. For reference, we spent about $15/person with what we ordered, so it’s definitely worth a few more bucks to order whatever you want and get the buffet option.
Overall, besides my awkward attempt to retrieve noodles from the broth with chopsticks (it was a struggle, and I was glad we were seated in a corner where no one could judge me), the food was fresh, delicious, and we will definitely be back again soon.