Steamy affair

illustration by MARK STIVERS

I suddenly find myself embroiled in a steamy affair, and the polygamous relationship I’m in with my regular restaurants don’t know it yet. I’m afraid they’ll soon find out. (Poor OneSpeed will be hurt the most, as they introduced us.)

I’ve been sneaking away to Shabu Japanese Fondue (1730 16th Street) for shabu, Japanese-style fondue, whenever I can. Three times in the last five days. I haven’t even brought my other friends yet, preferring quiet meals of just me and Shabu. It’s so exciting. So scandalous.

A pot with a rolling boil of shoyu (a soy-sauce- and dashi-based stock) or spicy miso broth is set before you, and after tossing in some tofu and mushrooms to flavor and absorb the broth, you gingerly pluck up a piece of tissue-paper-thin Kobe beef or lamb and swish it through to quickly—barely—cook it. Slather it in sesame or ponzu sauce lightly flavored with daikon and scallions and, oh! Bliss! Enoki mushrooms, cabbage and noodles can also be greedily swirled about and devoured. With each slurp, I sigh just a little and feel no remorse.