I went to Little Sheep one week with Stacey and the next week, my co-worker Cris & I decided to go to Little Sheep for their lunch special. But surprise! Little Sheep is gone and now replaced with Shabu Works – an All You Can Eat hot pot restaurant in the same spot.
I was surprised at how fast the change occured!
All you can eat!
But, looking around, they didn’t change a whole lot. Mostly just a sign swap and the addition of some buffets in the middle of the restaurant. Everything else looks the same.
Here’s the Shabu Works lunch menu. It’s buffet style, except for these meats/seafood. You can order up to three plates at a time and you have a two hour time limit. I saw on Yelp that dinner prices are currently $26.99. They don’t offer the lunch menu on the weekends.
Soft drinks, iced tea, and hot tea are available at Shabu Works for no extra charge. But if you’re feeling like getting a buzz on, they have alcoholic beverages available for an additional charge.
Once you sit down, the waiter will explain the rules at Shabu Works and then bring out your starting broth. Shabu Works uses a Japanese Dashi broth with kelp and dry bonito shavings. All pots are split.
You can customize the flavor of your broths with Shabu Works different “Flavor Bombs”.
These were the flavor bombs available. They also have chili oil so you can adjust the heat level of your soup base. Cris and I choose the Pork Tonkotsu and Garlic Miso Tonkotsu.
Here’s a line up of veggies available. On the far side is three types of mushrooms. I spied cabbage, spinach, bok choy, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and corn on the cob pieces.
There seemed to be some empty spots in here, so maybe they add more veggies at dinner time? The only thing I missed was having potato slices like at Little Sheep.
Shabu Works has different types of noodles available to add to your hot pot. Cris and I each got our own bundle of the yellow noodles and realized later we really only needed one bundle to share between us. Oops.
More noodles, tofu, and tiny little pork sausages. The sausages were quite sweet.
Seafood options at Shabu Works! Top upper left is calamari. On the right is is shrimp balls, lobster balls, and I forgot the last ball. Oops.
Spam and things.
Shabu Works also had a few trays of “hot food” including fried rice, lo mein noodles…
… chicken karaage, and chicken katsu. There are dipping sauces on the side for your chicken here. These were labeled as hot food but they were really lukewarm. The katsu, lo mein, and karaage were all just okay, nothing special. Better to eat more hot pot than these so-called hot foods.
Shabu Works has a bunch of different flavor additions/dipping sauces to choose from.
Iced teas and water available, with hot tea off to the left. I found all of the iced teas to be too sweet.
Our starting point!
In the upper right is my “flavor bomb”. I got two scoops of the garlic miso tonkotsu and added it to the broth. My dipping sauce was a mix of sesame sauce, sesame oil, green onions, and ground up sesame along with garlic, ponzu sauce, and black garlic oil.
Why did I get multiple lobster balls?? They were kind of fishy tasting and I didn’t enjoy them. Same with the shrimp balls. The shrimp balls had this weird squishy texture and just tasted weirdly fishy. I’d rather have real shrimp.
Here’s the broth bubbling with our flavor bombs added in.
We ended up only getting three plates total, because Cris and I just can’t eat that much food. We started with the Beef Belly.
And pork belly.
And eventually got the Chuck Eye. All tasted pretty darn good and take less than a minute to cook.
I dropped noodles into the broth. These only take a few minutes to cook as well (maybe 2 minutes). Any longer and they get mushy as hell. I added more garlic to my personal bowl since I didn’t think the garlic miso was very garlicky at all. I also added sesame in and thought this was delicious. Yum yum!
I preferred the base broth at Little Sheep more than what they have here at Shabu Works, but it’s not like it’s terrible. I do like that you can customize your broth to be way you want with flavor and spice levels. They also have a lot more sauces and condiments available and it’s nice to be able to get up and get what you want to try.
Dessert is also included with Shabu Works’ DIY Bing-Su bar.
You grab a bowl and fill it with snow ice from this container.
And then add your sauces and toppings. Off to the left where you can’t see are the sauces – sweetened condensed milk, chocolate sauce, mango sauce, green apple, lychee, and more were available. The toppings range from mochi, to fresh fruits (strawberry, cantaloupe, watermelon, oranges), to cereal, and Oreo cookies.
I made a very colorful rainbow bowl for my dessert.
The total bill – which still says Little Sheep at the top.
Overall I quite enjoyed it. It’s not a terrible price for lunch, either, when you consider drinks and dessert are also included in the all-you-can-eat cost of the meal. I’d definitely come back!
I believe for dinner you also get Lamb as one of the meats. Not sure if there are any additional foods out at the buffet though.
9821 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92131