One of the Best Restaurants in Park City, UT – Freestyle Asian Cuisine at Shabu
If you’ve lived in Park City for as long as I have, you’d almost laugh at the amount of strangers that walk up to me and say “Hey, you look like you live here. What’s your favorite restaurant in Park City?” I generally respond with a list of questions to better gauge their taste and price range, and then spout off 5 or 6 restaurants I think would fit their idea of perfection. But that got me thinking…what is my favorite restaurant in Park City?
I’m a Pesce-Vegetarian and LOVE sushi and seafood dishes. I also dig creative menus and contemporary decor. I like my dining experience to feel like a vacation, a mini trip away from Park City and the typical Italian and American restaurants that line Park City’s Historic Main Street. With all this in mind, it is no wonder that Shabu frequently comes to mind as one of my favorite restaurants in Park City.
You would never imagine a restaurant like Shabu located inside the old Mrs. Fields Mall on Main. Half vacant and forgotten by tourists, this pseudo mall now houses two of the most hip and popular hot spots in Park City. Shabu is located on the second floor of the mall and immediately to your left as you step out of the glass-walled elevator. Within your first five steps, a host stand and a wall of awards is immediately in view. Shabu has received numerous awards from publications including Salt Lake Magazine, Conde Naste Traveler, and Food and Wine Magazine. They have also been written up in Ski Magazine, Delta Sky Miles, and on food blogs all over the web.
The interior of Shabu is definitely unique for Park City. Rather than the typical mountain town vibe, these interior walls are painted a moody red and creates a very intimate, yet casual atmosphere. With elegant hints of contemporary flair, Shabu is incredibly romantic, but not over the top. Fortunately, Shabu’s food is just as amazing as their decor.
Brother’s Kevin and Robert Valaika own and operate Shabu, and their passion for delicate flavors and creative entrees ooze onto your plates and through their specially prepared ingredients. Regardless of what you decide to order, their food is flavorful, beautifully presented, energetic, and sweet. If you’ve never been to Shabu, you MUST order the Fire Cracker Shrimp appetizer. After your first bite, you’ll probably want to order a second round just for yourself. The Fire Cracker Shrimp is made with rock shrimp fried in a light tempura batter and tossed with a creamy spicy sauce and tobiko. I’m also a huge fan of the Ginger Curry Mussel appetizer, sauteed with bok choy and cherry tomatoes in a garlic, ginger, red curry cause. The combination of spice and ginger is just incredible, but also lite on the palate.
Whenever I go to Shabu, I always try and decide whether I’ll get a few sushi rolls for dinner or one of their delicious entrees. Then my inner fat kid decides why only choose one, get both! So I do, and here’s some of my favorites. As far as sushi rolls, I highly recommend the Sansei Roll, comprised of spicy crab, cucumber, avocado, kaiware sprouts, and cilantro. It’s rolled inside out, topped with sesame seeds and sweet Thai chili sauce. The fresh cilantro flavor mixed with the chili sauce is amazing and will make your mouth very happy. My second favorite roll is the Nitro Roll, which creates an explosion of flavor in your mouth. This refreshing summery roll is made of tempura shrimp, avocado, pineapple and mango, rolled inside out with tobiko. It’s topped with tuna and served with a truly delicious yuzu pepper aioli. My mouth is watering just thinking of it.
If you’re not in the market for sushi, then you’re still in for quite the treat. Shabu has some incredible entrees to choose from. My personal favorite is the Coconut Crusted Tofu entree, which taste more like a dessert than an actual meal. The tofu is crispy fried and arranged on a bed of stir-fry vegetables, enhanced with sweet soy sauce. If you are still on the fence about tofu, then this is the dish that will make you love it. My only complaint about the Coconut Crusted Tofu is that it is relatively small and usually leaves me wanting more. For a more substantial dinner, the Grilled Hawaiin Ahi Tuna is definitely the way to go. The Ahi is served with a sweet chili, prickly pear buerre blanc, wasabi potato puree and wok seared vegetables.
Shabu also serves a variety of salads, sashimi, nigiri, and superb Bento Boxes called the Shabu Shabu. This is a very fun way to eat where you can create your dish by choosing a homemade broth and then your choice of meats, seafood, or tofu. Shabu also serves a special selection of seasonal martinis and offers a full wine and sake menu. Make sure you save room for dessert and indulge your senses with the 5 Spice Chocolate Shabu Shabu accompanied with a Cappucino Sake Martini.
As far as favorites, Shabu is hands-down one of my favorite restaurants in Park City, if not the best restaurant in town. A big thanks goes out to the Valaika brothers for their inventive and truly delightful restaurant. During the Summers, Shabu offers outside dining on their elevated patio overlooking Main Street. It’s great for dates, a night out with good friends,or to help mark a special occasion. If you haven’t been to Shabu, make sure you give it a try next time you find yourself on Main Street and don’t forget to let me know what you think.
Check out Shabu on Ski Town Restaurants for more info and menus.
Pictures courtesy of Shabu Restaurant.