Last week I had the pleasure of trying out Edmonton’s newest hot pot restaurant with my friend Brittney. It was her very first time ever having hot pot and it was the first time I’d had hot pot in years so it was a pretty fun and new food experience for the both of us! Urban Shabu is located along the Chinatown 97 Street strip at 9700 105 Avenue (just a few businesses down from my parent’s restaurant!) Servers told us the restaurant has only been open for a few weeks.
Urban Shabu is very classy-looking with modern decor. I never went to whatever was in this location previous to Urban Shabu so I’m not sure how much of a reno they underwent but from the outside coming in, you don’t expect it to look so sleek and shiny – with marble tables and big, framed photos lining the wall. We arrived around 7:30 p.m. on a Wednesday and it was packed. We ended up staying until close to 9:30 and the tables around us kept filling up with new customers as quickly as the old ones left. I thought it was very busy but our server told us that night was actually considered one of their slower nights since they opened – wow!
When I describe hot pot to friends who don’t know what it is, I usually call it an asian fondue. You get your individual pot of soup/broth that comes on its own burner and you order various vegetables, noodles, raw meat and seafood to cook in your burner. Urban Shabu’s menu is extensive. I didn’t count how many items they offered but foodie friend Andrea who has also tried the place out counted 90+ raw items and 6 cooked items. Nearly all the items are included in your all-you-can-eat set price of $25.95, with some more specialty items costing a bite extra. You can also order different broth which costs an additional $2. It’s a bit pricey, but at the same time the typical price range you’d expect for an all-you-can-eat style dinner.
I ended up getting the Thai Style Tom Yum broth and Brittney got the (included with your $25.95 price) Chicken broth.
A heat dial at either end of the tables allowed us to control how hot we wanted our broth. A few photos of what we ordered are below:
The sauces are on a separate platform in the restaurant and there are many to choose from. The items we checked off on our list came out in plentiful amounts. We didn’t communicate with our server as much as we probably could have to clarify portions so I would advise you do if you go. We put down “2″ by mushrooms and the first time around that meant we got 3 mushrooms in total. Our second round ordering we put “4″ for mushrooms and ended up getting an entire basket of mushrooms. Now that I think about it we probably didn’t even need to put a number – a check mark probably would have sufficed, lol. (Newbies here!) The amount of greens were also a bit overwhelming. We felt really wasteful because we just couldn’t finish everything – and they didn’t charge us extra for leftovers so thank goodness for that! (I imagine that may change as their business grows, as most all-you-can-eat places have warnings for extra charges due to wasting food).
My favourites of the night: all the beef cuts, shrimp, mussels, oysters, beef balls, and crab meat. The chicken and lamb were also great. I might have overwhelmed myself a bit by ordering tripe and tendon and brisket as well. You just get so caught up in the magic of wanting to order a bit of everything! Brittney, if I can recall – and I should just ask – loved all the beef cuts as well, she adventurously tried at least one bite of all the seafood options but wasn’t necessarily big fans of them. She loved the beef balls and crab meat as well, and was also in love with the sweet corn.
As I wrote earlier, we were there for a long time. We talked a lot in between so we were a bit slower for eating but there was just a lot of food to tackle as well! I was disappointed because they didn’t have any plain white rice. Hot pot can be great and give you the illusion of feeling stuffed but I always love to have something like rice really fill my stomach at the end. I usually leave hot pot feeling like I ate a TON (and I did) but there’s a feeling that always tugs at the back of my tummy like I needed rice or something very substantial to fill that little void.
Overall though, we had a great time at Urban Shabu! As I said, I haven’t been to hot pot in years so I’m afraid I can’t really compare to past experiences since they were such a long time ago but as a standalone review, Urban Shabu was fantastic. The service was quick, the variety and choices are plenty, the food is fresh, and the broth so flavourful! (Brittney wanted to take her soup home, but alas, they do not allow that). The price point is a bit high (you’re looking at about $30 per person by the end of it all, including fancier broths and not including tip), but if you put that into perspective with other all-you-can-eat places then it’s not too bad. The atmosphere is terrific as well! Very clean, modern, sleek and also while we were there the Chinese version of The Voice was playing which was also a riot to watch, lol. I’ll need to visit some other hot pot places in Edmonton to refresh my memory/experiences for comparison but I really enjoyed Urban Shabu and it looked like many, many others did that night as well! I’ll be back for my next hot pot craving (which is pretty much right now as I wrap up this review… droools…)
And here’s a Vine of me cracking an egg into the hot pot!
So have you been to Urban Shabu?! What did you think? What’s your favourite hot pot place in Edmonton?