Japanese shabu shabu is a little different from the Chinese or Mongolian hot pot the D.C. area has been exposed to in suburban eating meccas that rely on Sichuan peppercorns to impart numbing heat. The broth is more subtle, flavored with kombu or miso, making it possible to taste the freshness of each ingredient.
The term shabu shabu is onomatopoeic, meaning its name mimics the sound one makes when swishing meat, fish, or veggies to and fro in bubbling broth and dipping sauces.
Get a taste of shabu shabu at Fuyu launching inside Whaley’s on Dec. 19. Restaurateurs Nick and David Wiseman have opted to turn their Navy Yard seafood restaurant into something special from December through March. (Fuyu means winter in Japanese.)
Chef Daniel Perron crafted a shabu shabu menu that stars Big Eye tuna, scallops, wild shrimp, monkfish, and oysters. Terrestrial options include matsutake mushrooms, heritage breed pork, and aged ribeye from Roseda Farm.
Diners can order a la carte or in bundles—tables of two can choose three proteins for $48, while tables of four can choose three proteins for $95. All tables partaking in hot pot will receive accompanying vegetables, condiments, and house-made udon noodles that Perron has been perfecting over the past couple of weeks.
Perron rounds out the Fuyu menu with a selection of Japanese hot dishes like sunchoke okonomiyaki ($14), tempura vegetables ($15), black cod cooked over a binchotan charcoal grill ($22), and a take on the cultish katsu sandwich that uses monkfish instead of pork ($15). Raw bar selections, for which Whaley’s is known, will also be available during the duration of Fuyu. See the full menu below.
The Wiseman cousins tapped beverage man Brian Zipin to devise a drink menu of Japanese-inspired cocktails, sake, and beer. Look for a roving bar cart stocked with Japanese spirits, which can be enjoyed on the rocks or in a cocktail.
Fuyu will be open Mondays through Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 9 p.m. Visit from 5 to 7 p.m. for a daily happy hour when River Keeper oysters are $1 each. There will also be a menu of discounted cocktails and snacks, such as tempura sea beans, priced at $10 or less.
Reservations will be accepted online or by phone. The restaurant can accommodate large parties.
No food screams hygge louder than hot pot, which is perhaps why D.C. proper went from having zero hot pot restaurants to two in a blink. Enjoying a relaxed-pace meal, and gently cooking ingredients in a shared cauldron, gives even the staunchest winter-haters a shared snugness to look forward to. Erik Bruner-Yang’s hot pot pop-up, Yang’s, is already bubbling inside Impala Lounge on H Street NE.
Fuyu, 301 Water St. SE; (202) 484-8800; whaleysdc.com