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Bob's 88 Shabu-Shabu, Rockville - Taiwan-Style Shabu-Shabu on North Washington St - Closed


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I was driving around Rockville this afternoon, and noticed that Paisano’s, on North Washington Street, has been converted into “Bob’s 88 Shabu-Shabu,” by the owner of Bob’s Noodle 66 across the street. The Shabu-Shabu menu is thirty-eight items long, and he is also serving sushi, Tariyaki and a number of familiar dishes from the original Bob’s. Judging from the large number of customers happily “shabuing” at 2:30 PM, it appears as though this will be a most welcome addition to the dining options there, especially in light of the chain restaurants leasing space in the new Town Center.

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I was driving around Rockville this afternoon, and noticed that Paisano’s, on North Washington Street, has been converted into “Bob’s 88 Shabu-Shabu,” by the owner of Bob’s Noodle 66 across the street. The Shabu-Shabu menu is thirty-eight items long, and he is also serving sushi, Tariyaki and a number of familiar dishes from the original Bob’s. Judging from the large number of customers happily “shabuing” at 2:30 PM, it appears as though this will be a most welcome addition to the dining options there, especially in light of the chain restaurants leasing space in the new Town Center.

I've been meaning to ask about this place - it was hopping at about 6:00 last Saturday night (we passed by on the way back from having dumplings down the street). Has anyone tried it?

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Just in case you don't know what shabu-shabu is, here is a link to the Wikipedia entry. Basically a Japanese hot pot in which you cook thinly sliced pieces of beef. Great stuff in the winter time.

I've been jonesin' for some of this ever since I had it in Tokyo some years back, in a small restaurant that played loud 1950s roots rock and had some very patient and friendly people working the front of the house who helped us order and demoed how to eat it. It was a great culture-jam experience.

So, any reports on the Rockville version? I'd love to try it sometime. Cheap enough for a $20 tues?

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I've been jonesin' for some of this ever since I had it in Tokyo some years back, in a small restaurant that played loud 1950s roots rock and had some very patient and friendly people working the front of the house who helped us order and demoed how to eat it. It was a great culture-jam experience.

So, any reports on the Rockville version? I'd love to try it sometime. Cheap enough for a $20 tues?

Well, when we prepare it at home it's always cheap enough for a $20 Tuesday..only problem is that we couldn't host 10 DR maxi-eaters... :) . Someone said at Joe's Noodle House on Tuesday night that everytime they go by Bob's Shabu-Shabu it's always full...sounds like a good bet for a upcoming $20 Tuesday.
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ok,

so we only let 9 come :)

Well, when we prepare it at home it's always cheap enough for a $20 Tuesday..only problem is that we couldn't host 10 DR maxi-eaters... :) . Someone said at Joe's Noodle House on Tuesday night that everytime they go by Bob's Shabu-Shabu it's always full...sounds like a good bet for a upcoming $20 Tuesday.
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Basically a Japanese hot pot in which you cook thinly sliced pieces of beef. Great stuff in the winter time.

Basically it is a Mogolian hot pot even though the Japanese people made the dish popular. :)

I heard that the owner is from Taiwan. In Taiwan, Shabu-shabu is very popular lunch item. Most of food court of department stores have the shabu-shabu counter. They prepare one-person serving with a small metal pot on top of an electronic induction range. You can choose the kind of meat (beef, pork, chicken and lamb).

It was my favorite lunch when I was there. I am glad that I can taste it here again.

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So the RPLC stopped off for lunch yesterday. It was pretty good. Order your meat and go to the sauce bar to make your own dipping sauce(s). THey'll bring the pot of stock and place on the sunken burner in front of you at the table. Next will come the giant plate of veggies and assorted other goodies and your meat. Dump assorted goodies and veggies in pot and start dipping meat. Eat.

I enjoyed it and will go back. I think that it is one of those things that you need to practice and explore for a little bit until you find what works best for you.

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So the RPLC stopped off for lunch yesterday. It was pretty good. Order your meat and go to the sauce bar to make your own dipping sauce(s). THey'll bring the pot of stock and place on the sunken burner in front of you at the table. Next will come the giant plate of veggies and assorted other goodies and your meat. Dump assorted goodies and veggies in pot and start dipping meat. Eat.

I enjoyed it and will go back. I think that it is one of those things that you need to practice and explore for a little bit until you find what works best for you.

Did it come with a bowl of rice? Or noodles that you could put in the soup after you finished the meat?

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The main thrust was a sweet chili dipping sauce base to which could be added scallions, hot pepper slices and a couple of other garnish type things. THere was also a leek sauce and a couple of others.

My girlfriend and I had dinner at Bob's 88 last night. It was a fun experience--a bit messy, perhaps, but the food was very tasty, and I've always enjoyed the whole "Chinese fondue" concept. This experience is generally similar to that--here, you get a big tray of vegetables and some other goodies, cook (and eat) them in small batches, adding in meat along the way.

The sauces (that I remember)--sweet chili (which has a bit of a kick), Sha Cha, red bean, white bean, leek. We tried the sweet chili, the Sha Cha, and the red bean, and liked all three. We also tried other condiments, including cilantro and green onion. Both add a lot of flavor to the soup. I had the spicy soup, my girlfriend the regular. Spicy was pretty spicy, and added some kick to all of the vegetables and meats cooked in it. The regular was a bit bland, but adding cilantro really gave it a nice flavor.

I did the lamb shabu shabu, my girlfried the land and sea (beef and seafood). We shared, and I found the seafood to be good. The meats were thinly sliced, easy to cook, and nicely complemented by the sauces that we tried. It was a lot of food, in our opinion--once you factor in all of the vegetables (spinach, mushroom, cabbage, radish, etc.), a lot of vermicelli, an egg, some fish balls, a dumpling, and a fish cake--plus the meats--it adds up and we couldn't finish it all.

We'll go back--the service was very friendly, Bob was there, and was very interested in how we liked it (which we did, very much). It was cheap, too--about $28 for the two of us, with tip.

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We went here today for a delightful lunch. We ahd the tripe, lamb & pork along with an extra order of bean curd skin and clams. 2 Tsing Tao and we were stuffed to the gills for all of $32.00. The service was delightfully attentive and enthusiastic. We met Bob and had a nice chat. I loved the red bean sauce which is made with fermented tofu. The leek and garlic sauces are incredible in combination. Sa Cha was liked by both but only Kay liked the sesame sauce. I thought it too heavy. The extra clams added a lot of flavor to the soup so are highly recommended and the tofu skin was incredibly chewy and good tasting.

All in all a great time!

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In a word.... "BURP!"

Man Bob stuffed us Tuesday night! The shabu was good but the cooked food was also pretty great.

The duck tongues were fantastic... deep fried little morsels in a salty coating with aromatic Thai basil leaves and a nice dipping sauce. This dish represented two major food groups in a healthy diet: Fat & Salt.

Smelly Crispy Tofu. Definitely smelly and a little odd, the tofu itself had a light texture but the sulphurous odor was a little weird. I preferred the crispy tofu on the appeizers menu we had last week. Really good well fermented Kim Chee served along side.

Duck feet- served bonless, these weree really good if a little on the mild side.

Pork Hock- very bony bits of hock stewed in a 5 spice type flavored broth served on a bed of baby bok choy. Complex, unctuous, rich, very good.

Beef with long horn peppers- spicy beef and green pepper saute that was simply addictive.

Lion's Head- the star of the show. Bob's wife cooked these at home for us so they are not yet a menu item at Bob's. These were better thant he Lion's head at Peter Chiang's. Not as well spiced, but simply the softest yet toothiest meatballs I have ever had in a flavorful and thankfully very light broth with a few cabbage leaves. I hope these show up on the menu in the future!

Shaved Ice with varius beans, jellies, strawberries and lychee. Incredible finish to the meal.

The Shabu was as always very good but we were filled to the breaking point. I had to unbutton my pants in order to drive home without exploding.

Bob was great fun and we really had a great time! It was fun to meet new folk and enjoy so much food together.

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First and foremost - THANKS to Dean and DanielK for arranging this! I think everyone had a great time.

We enjoyed the food we had and you can't beat the prices.

The duck tongues were a surprisingly wonderful way to start - I missed the dipping sauce somehow but the dish didn't suffer for lacking it. The salty crispy little nuggets were a novel way to start a meal and the fried basil leaves were an excellent counterpoint.

The stinky tofu...was....well....stinky. There IS truth in advertising at Bob's 88! This was all about texture. They were somewhat bland and the odour was....well....stinky. Think week old gym socks.

Of the main courses, the duck's feet and the pork hocks were our least favorite. The duck's feet were somewhat bland and the pork hock, while insanely tasty, were lacking substance. I'm not a huge fan of pork skin when not roasted/bbq'd to a crisp. And they were bloody well impossible to eat with chopsticks! But the sauce and whatever meat was there was delicious.

Our absolute favorite main was the lion's head meatballs. You've never had anything quite so light and fluffy, yet rich. The porous nature of the meatballs was perfect for aborbing the lovely broth it was floating in. I could eat these over and over again. Close behind the lion's head was the spicy beef. A perfect combination of shredded beef and hot peppers. It looks like the seeds and membrane of the peppers (probably jalapenos) were removed so the heat wasn't overwhelming but all the flavour was intact.

As for the shabu shabu...my only complaint about it is that too much of it's success resides with the diner's ability to make a decent dipping sauce. I had to try a couple of combos before finding one that worked. I think it would be great if Bob created small cards with suggested sauce combos. To me, shabu-shabu is still more about the fun of eating rather than what you are eating.

Dessert....wasn't appealing to me but that's because I'm too small minded to enjoy beans as part of my dessert. My favorite desserts are in the sweet/sour spectrum, not savory. Judging from the gusto in which my dining companions dug into the shaved ice, I'm in the minority. Don't let me stop you from ordering this incredible dish.

Thanks again to Dean and Daniel. A great time. And thank you, Bob!!! We'll be back.

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I echo all the descriptions that have been already posted. My faviorite was the Lion's Head followed by the duck tongues. The Shabu Shabu was in a class by itself as well as a separate meal. If you llove to play with your food, then shabu-shabu is for you!

I did manage to capture pictures of all the dishes. They can be found on this link. http://picasaweb.google.com/S.s.johnston/BobS

If you know a better way to post pics let me know.

Scott

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i also wanted to thank dean and danielk for putting this together (and for coordinating rides to bob's!). i'm really glad that kevin and i were able to come out to our first dr event and meet everyone. we will definitely be attending more dr events in the future!

that said, i also thoroughly enjoyed our shabu shabu (pork, lamb, beef, tripe) as well as numerous dishes bob and his staff brought out throughout the evening. i agree with most people - the lion's head meatballs were spectacular!

samantha :P

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This is just a follow-up to Monday. Having talked to some folks about the food, I wanted to make a recommendation. This is from 25 years of eating hot pot at home. Obviously, do whatever you want.

I think that the order they brought out the shabu materials is not optimal and maybe a little confusing. They brought out the veggies and fish balls first with the meat following quite a bit later. My family has always done fish balls and meat first and then the veggies. If you do veggies first, they're not as exciting. But if you wait until after you've dipped a pile of meat, and then throw in veg, the veg will start tasting like meat. It's also a nice cadence with the bean thread noodles. My family always finishes up with a bowl of the veg, noodles and broth to end. Also consider throwing your seaweed knots and mushroom in at the beginning. It will help build up a nice flavor that way.

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My family always finishes up with a bowl of the veg, noodles and broth to end.
Today started overcast and wet - not the best Saturday morning. However it was perfect weather for a steaming bowl of leftover Shabu-Shabu. The rice noodles, tofu, spinach, cabbage, mushroom, meat and egg drop broth hit the spot. Singaporean Curry Paste from a half-forgotten jar added zing and sinus relief.

It fragrantly filled the kitchen and was a great meal - who knew we all have a mythical Taiwanese grandmother in Rockville?

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After the first time, you may want to split one full order, pay the $5 sharing fee and get a supplementary portion. (Sharing not only saves your tummy, it's a bargain: Whole orders are $8.50 to $13.20, while the sides start at $1 for veggies, go to $2 or $2.50 for seafood and $6 for meat portions.)
I'm not quite sure I understand what Eve Zibart means here. If it's $5 for the sharing fee and then you get a couple of supplementary portions, this puts you back in the price range of a whole order (say a $5 fee + $6 for one supplementary meat portion, which puts you at $11). I guess you could save a dollar or two, but 'a bargain'?
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My accountant is near Bob's so we stopped in for lunch. He has a new noodle soup and dumplings on the menu. The dumplings were good but nothing special. But the noodle dish was quite good. Round, spaghetti like rice noodles (I think) in a different broth than the shabu broth, served with pork belly, shrimp, scallops, clam, pork and chicken and a plate of greens, tofu skin and probably some other stuff as well. You boil it all for a minute or two, add hot pepper sauce and eat. Quite good. I thought it a touch bland but Kay really loved it. The wait said "easier than Shabu Shabu" and he was right.

Next time, I will

#1... let Kay order it and I will order Shabu and then steal some of hers and

#2... not spill a bowl of it over my pants and shirt on a day when I had to go to a meeting that night!

But it beats getting a flat tire any day!

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Bob put together a special lunch for four of us on the fly today featuring Lion Head Meatballs. Bob asked if he could put a couple of dishes together for us. We started out with Miso soup and Beef with Three Peppers (spicy) with some bowls of rice. Next came some sort of veal shanks, sliced thin with the bone in a brown sauce. The dish was wonderful, but the bone needed finger dexterity to consume. Then came snow pea sprouts with garlic, and the lion's head balls. The lion head balls are on the Chinese page of the menu. Each is giant and the broth with cabbage is to die for. Bob would not let us in on the secret recipe, but admitted that the flavor is from the meat which is cooked very slowly. In addition we got a free birthday dessert of shaved ice. All of this for $40 dollars + tip and we left food on the table!

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Well, gosh darned if we didn't have another fine meal at Bob's. The lion head meatballs are now a permanent addition to the menu (although only on the chinese menu so you have to know to ask for it). With it, Bob added four dishes to round out our lunch. We let him pick the dishes and he did a great job: beef with green peppers, peppered veal, snow pea shoots, and miso soup. The veal was especially tasty (if not a little difficult to separate the meat from the bone). But the highlight was the lion's head meatballs - soaking in a beautiful broth that Bob says is a result of flavouring from the meatballs themselves as opposed to any kind of special broth. I think Bob was being a wee bit coy on that one! We finished off the meal with a heaping of shaved ice, dressed with red beans, lychee, boiled peanuts, condensed milk, syrup, and probably a few other things I've forgotten.

Thanks to JPW, Scott, and birthday boy DanielK for a great lunch.

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Those lion head meatballs are truly superb. Light and airy and just a little bit chewy with a pleasant meaty yet mild flavor. I suspect there is some sweatbreads mixed in there and more egg then you would imagine. The accompanying broth is amongst the most decadent things you can taste. Luscious and rich with a beautiful aroma.

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Those lion head meatballs are truly superb. Light and airy and just a little bit chewy with a pleasant meaty yet mild flavor. I suspect there is some sweatbreads mixed in there and more egg then you would imagine. The accompanying broth is amongst the most decadent things you can taste. Luscious and rich with a beautiful aroma.
Not to turn this into a cooking thread, but here's a link to a recipe for Lion's Head Meatballs. I've done a wee bit of poking around and this seems pretty representative of the other recipes (though I'm still with the others who thought there might have been some organ meat added in there for extra flavour). Could be worth an afternoon's worth of effort to try this out.
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Not to turn this into a cooking thread, but here's a link to a recipe for Lion's Head Meatballs. I've done a wee bit of poking around and this seems pretty representative of the other recipes (though I'm still with the others who thought there might have been some organ meat added in there for extra flavour). Could be worth an afternoon's worth of effort to try this out.
Looking at the recipe, I revise my previous thought and say that it was the dried shrimp that gave that hint of gaminess.
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Kay and I had lunch today at BSS88. Tried some new and some old things but no shabu shabu. It was all quite good if too filling:

Cucumbers with garlic- little wedges of cukes in a soy based sauce with garlic and chopped garlic. Quite different from other cold plated of cukes I have had elsewhere (A&J, PC, BNH etc) and really quite good. The cukes were salted and barely fermented like a new pickle. The topping was subtle and the soy based sauce tart and tangy. Almost free at $2.50 for a huge pile!

Cold Noodles with chicken- at first I thought it was going to be like bon bon chicken on noodles, but it was not. The noodles were quite al dente rice noodles, but not the flat kind. The are round and spaghetti like but with a bit of a toothy bite. The sauce was soy, vinegar, garlic, ginger, other stuff with bits of chicken (could have been pork actually, we never saw what we ordered on the menu) and cilantro. The noodles were basically swimming in the broth/sauce. Refreshing and again, really really good.

Fried Tofu: soft tofu coated and fried and served with dark, salty soy sauce. Salt, fat and tofu. What could be better? The tofu has a silky custardy texture when done like this.

Lion's Head. A casserole with two giant balls, lots of cabbage and delicious broth. Not as good as at the dinner when Bob's wife made them special for us, but insanely good. Ginger and five spice powder were there. Very porky but not greasy. Again, really good.

All this food along with 3 Tsing Tao for $35!

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We went for a "$20" meal last night. It ended up being a little bit more than that, but we had a substantial amount of food.

We chose a set meal for four. In Chinese restaurants, the set meals are some of the best tasting, not to mention a great deal. For this one, choose from a soup, an app, a main dish, a seafood, and a vegetable for about $60 plus a free tilapia.

We had:

soup: shepherd's purse thick tofu soup - didn't really feel too strongly about this dish either way

app: gluten with wood ear and tiger lilies - cooling, juicy but not greasy

dish: lion's head meatball with nappa cabbage - flavorful and loose, could have been warmer, Dean and Daniel said theirs were bit cool in the center, but still darned tasty. I also checked on the remainder of my meatball that I took home... haha... the layer of fat floating on top...

seafood: deep fried crispy shrimp (heads on)- crispy to the point you could eat head to tail and not leave anything on the plate, perfect amount of salt, and wonderful with the basil

vegetable: Chinese broccoli - green, fresh, crisp

tilapia with sour pickle sauce (spicy) - not too spicy, but moist and tender

We also ordered:

deep fried duck tongues - basically a mouthful of salty, peppery breading, but darned tasty

fried tofu with soy sauce - the soy sauce dipping sauce was very salty, the tofu itself had me going meh, but perhaps that was also in contrast to all the deep fried items we'd already ordered

shaved ice with red beans, lychees, mango and boba - I really wish they would layer the condensed milk throughout the shaved ice instead of putting it simply on top. The boba were a perfect texture, not too chewy, not too gummy.

I had a "honeydew" bubble tea, which turned out to be cantalope. Basically chunks of cantalope put through a blender, but very tasty.

For four of us the total came to $93 pre-tip.

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I loved the tofu app because of the saltiness! Just dipped an edge of the tofu cube intot he say which seemed to be a thick variety. The duck tongues were duck tongues... not my fav adn these were small so the breading to meat ratio was quite high. The shrimp heads were full of shrimp fat and very tasty. I loved the soup although I prefer the Peking Cheers Version. The Tilapia was very good and I am not a fan of that particular fish. The Lion's head, whicl a lottle cold was perfection otherwise. Jamie, as to the fat layer, what do you think makes them so light. As with Matzoh Balls and schmaltz, good meatballs require the right amount of fat! I think it is safe to reiterate that one shouldn't inquire too closely into what goes into passing legislation, a hot dog or Lion's head unless one has a strong stomach. I even enjoyed the shaved ice! I am ot usually a fan. Way too much food!

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I went with some friends to Bob's 88 Shabu-Shabu on Friday. What fun. A good place to go if you like to play with your food. There is a learning curve to adding your food to get the right amount cooked, and I found it was best done in stages. I did the beef and my friends did the beef and shrimp. The shrimp do have their shells, etc. on, so it does get a bit messy. we added shrimp dumplings which were a nice addition. It seemed like a pretty healthy cheap eat in general, lots of veggies to add to your bowl, etc. Cost was under $100 for four, with drinks. Cheers.

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With my impending move to Rockville, I though I’d scope out one of my potential future dining options, so last night I stopped in to try Bob’s out.

Our entrees came out about 45 seconds after we ordered and before our appetizers, so I’ll start there. My wife’s shredded pork and tofu was okay, and in the words of F Gump, “that’s all I have to say about that”. The steamed vegetable dumplings had this stale taste that put me off after taking a bite of one. I ordered the beef shabu shabu, and did my level best to order the meatballs discussed in this thread but our waitress didn’t know what I was talking about. I ended up ordering some kind of “ball” of indeterminate origin.

My thoughts on their shabu shabu: I vaguely recall ordering shabu shabu once before in my life in NYC on a drunken evening and liking it. But this stuff was horrid. Remember that ceramic pot full of dried potpourri and water that boils atop a candle? You know, the thing that your old aunt Ginny burnt down the ol’ folks home with? It tasted like I was dipping my food in one of those. It was so perfumey and medicinal. I struggled to get through eating the mystery balls, sliced beef, and a couple of mushroom caps. There must have been about a cup and half of peppercorns and whatever other spices they use in the bottom of my boiling pot. It was overwhelming and I can still taste it this morning.

The smoked duck appetizer that finally came was pretty good though. The smokiness was strong enough to cut through to the taste buds on my potpourri coated tongue.

Maybe some day I’ll go back, but it’ll have to be several years down the road when the memory of that flavor fades. For now, I think I'm done dipping my meat in cheap perfume.

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Bob's has Juicy Pork Buns otherwise known as soup dumplings in the Gold Zimmerman family. Very nicely done too and a bargain at 6 for $4.95. Thin wrappers, goodly amount of soup in them, lacking the greasiness of the ones at Chinatown express on recent visits. The dipping sauce is particularly zippy dark soy, vinegar and lots of shredded fresh ginger. Not quite as good as the best of NYC but damned good indeed.

Lion's head was better than ever. Cukes in fresh garlic a very light and refreshing version: freshly cut chunks of cuke with a garlic & soy dressing with a nice space balance. What surprised most, both because we got it without ordering and because of how good it was, was the hot & sour soup. Chock full of Szechuan pickled veggie, lots of shredded chewy things of indeterminate origin in a dark thickened broth spiked with vinegar and just a little white pepper (I could have used more). One of the best versions of this so often cliched soup I have had. Seafood Spicy Combo soup with noodled suffered from overcooked squid but was otherwise a nice bowl of spicy red broth with lots of head on shrimp and scallops, perfectly cooked, and lots of shredded onions with a crunchy sweetness on a bed of round noodles.

With a large sake, it was all of $36 (the mistakenly delivered H&S soup was free) and we have a bag full of stuff for breakfast today in the fridge. The stuff is int he fridge, we will not be breakfasting there!

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Dean. was this at 88 Shabu-squared, or at 66?

Bob's has Juicy Pork Buns otherwise known as soup dumplings in the Gold Zimmerman family. Very nicely done too and a bargain at 6 for $4.95. Thin wrappers, goodly amount of soup in them, lacking the greasiness of the ones at Chinatown express on recent visits. The dipping sauce is particularly zippy dark soy, vinegar and lots of shredded fresh ginger. Not quite as good as the best of NYC but damned good indeed.

Lion's head was better than ever. Cukes in fresh garlic a very light and refreshing version: freshly cut chunks of cuke with a garlic & soy dressing with a nice space balance. What surprised most, both because we got it without ordering and because of how good it was, was the hot & sour soup. Chock full of Szechuan pickled veggie, lots of shredded chewy things of indeterminate origin in a dark thickened broth spiked with vinegar and just a little white pepper (I could have used more). One of the best versions of this so often cliched soup I have had. Seafood Spicy Combo soup with noodled suffered from overcooked squid but was otherwise a nice bowl of spicy red broth with lots of head on shrimp and scallops, perfectly cooked, and lots of shredded onions with a crunchy sweetness on a bed of round noodles.

With a large sake, it was all of $36 (the mistakenly delivered H&S soup was free) and we have a bag full of stuff for breakfast today in the fridge. The stuff is int he fridge, we will not be breakfasting there!

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Dean. was this at 88 Shabu-squared, or at 66?

Shabu Shabu. Funny but I can't get excited over 66. But now with juicy buns and Lion's Head its hard not to go to Bob's over a lot of places!!!

If he ever starts making Spicy & Tasty Tofu and Crispy Dried Scezhuan beef I am never go anywhere else!

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Shabu Shabu. Funny but I can't get excited over 66. But now with juicy buns and Lion's Head its hard not to go to Bob's over a lot of places!!!

If he ever starts making Spicy & Tasty Tofu and Crispy Dried Scezhuan beef I am never go anywhere else!

My wife and I went for Shabu Shabu last Thursday for the first time. What a fascinating experience. We didn't blaze any new trails, but did confirm that Lion's Head is an amazingly rich and flavorful dish and that two people will nearly explode if they eat $30 worth of food. I can't say that my wife is a fan of Shabu Shabu though. It didn't help either that the garage door windows during the winter make you feel as though you're, well, eating in your garage during the winter. I'll definitely go back (alone I guess) but probably explore non-Shabu Shabu items. Or would it make more sense to head across the street to the Noodle House?

Pax,

Brian

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My wife and I went for Shabu Shabu last Thursday for the first time. What a fascinating experience. We didn't blaze any new trails, but did confirm that Lion's Head is an amazingly rich and flavorful dish and that two people will nearly explode if they eat $30 worth of food. I can't say that my wife is a fan of Shabu Shabu though. It didn't help either that the garage door windows during the winter make you feel as though you're, well, eating in your garage during the winter. I'll definitely go back (alone I guess) but probably explore non-Shabu Shabu items. Or would it make more sense to head across the street to the Noodle House?

Pax,

Brian

I actually think the non-Shabu Taiwanese menu is outperforming the Noodle House across the street right now.

And you just can't miss with the "family" menus. $60 for 4 people gets you soup, appetizer, 2 main dishes, a tofu dish, and a whole fish, and the choices include some of their very best dishes (like lion head!)

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Mongolian Hot Pot with lamb, medium spice. Woah! redolent of cumin foolloed by nutmeg, Szechuan peppercorn, clove, pepper and other stuff I cannot name because I've never seen it before. You dip lamb, bean curd skin, cabbage, saw tooth herb & an oddly green/translucent noodle in the broth. One pot at $16.95 was enought for 2. Medium spicy was enough for Kay and just nicely warm for me. The hot was spice/warm hot not firey, but hot nonetheless.

May be better than Lion's Head!

Dean, was that at Bob's 88 Shabu Shabu?

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Sounds like bean thread noodle.

I suspected mung bean but the color was a little more green than anything I have seen before... sort of the color of green tea but very translucent. Good flavor too. But the best part was the bean curd skin in the broth. Bland with the texture of flip-flops but able to absorb any flavor at all. I wanted to go there again tonight but the better voice of reason {ie Kay, no one surely thinks I have any better voice of reason!} said no. Of course since we got rear ended on the way home, maybe we SHOULD have gone!

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Bob is apparently in China on vacation, but the restaurant is still firing on all cylinders.

We did the "family meal" this evening. That's 8 courses for 4 people for $70. And even though 5 people ate, we had leftovers.

Appetizer: (A11) Gluten Shanghai style. My 8 year old daughter went to town on this one. It was finely chopped with herbs. Very nice.

Soup: (O8) Shepherd's Purse w/Bamboo & Tofu Thick Soup. This time it was the 10-year old son who went back for seconds, then thirds, and I think even a fourth bowl.

Meat: (C9) Meat Ball w/Napa (Lion Head). Duh.

Seafood: (S19) Crispy Pepper Salt Shrimp. Perfectly fried, and there was not a head left on the plate.

Vegetable: (V1) Snow Pea Leaves w/Garlic. This was a bit too oily, but since my mom was with us, we had to eat our vegetables.

Noodle/Dumpling: (N4) Steam Juicy Pork Buns. Also known as Xiao long bao, or Soup Dumplings. Unlike the rapidly declining offering at Chinatown Express in DC, these actually had SOUP in the dumplings.

Fish: Whole Maryland Rockfish, steamed. Honestly, one of the most perfectly cooked rockfish I have ever eaten. Simply steamed with julienned vegetables, but the flesh was pure silk.

Dessert: Shaved Ice, of course. There was a little ice left at the end, but the kids made sure no tapioca balls were buried anywhere.

We didn't get to try the Mongolian Hot Pot today, but I remain convinced that you are cheating yourself if you go here and just order Shabu Shabu. Right now, there is no finer Chinese restaurant in the DC area.

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