Raleigh >Shaba-Shabu Thai Japanese
Had a nice dinner last night. Our
server, Mandy, was fantastic. We had our 5 year old with us, and she worked with us to concoct something he would likely eat. She was also helpful with the menu, attentive, and generally a pleasure. This is the fifth time we've been to Shaba Shabu. The other times have just been two adults.
I am taking the time to write, however, because we were surprised by your "BOGO policy" and even more so by the manager on duties manner in handling it. We had decided, because of the BOGO, to order two items from the more expensive rolls, and two from the lesser. We figured Buy one $13 dollar roll, get one free, buy one $7 roll, get one free. That's how BOGO works. Everywhere. (Restaurants, clothing stores, etc.)
When the bill came, the two $7 rolls were the ones made free, while we paid for the $13 and $12 roll. Now, $5 on a $100 bill is no big deal, but it wasn't what was expected. Our waitress was busy, so I walked up to the host stand (where it looked like I could pay) and mentioned that I didn't think the charges were correct. The manager's response was surprising. Paraphrasing, he notified me that a) this was policy, b) this was normal practice in the industry, and c) I was incorrect for even thinking otherwise.
OK ... so, if I come in and order two $13 rolls. Then come back in and order two $7 rolls, I pay a total of $20. But if I order them together its $26? Also, if I had ordered four $13 rolls I pay the same as two $13 and two $7? Had I understood this, I would have tried two more of the fancier rolls!
As someone who travels extensively, and fine-dines frequently, and more importantly has been in consumer-facing businesses most of my life, this strikes me as a "policy" aimed solely at fleecing the unsuspecting customer (me). Otherwise, it makes no practical sense. When raised as an issue, it should be handled summarily. (The customer is (almost) always right!) My repeat business should be more important than $6. Once properly informed, I would expect this odd practice, and order accordingly.
As it is, it seemed more important to stick to "policy" than to keep my business. I paid the bill, and left a generous tip for Mandy, who bears no fault in this.
But I won't be back. Sure, your better competitors don't have BOGO ... but that's not really the point.
Best of luck.
Delicious sushi rolls.. I feel like i'm a regular at Shaba-Shabu. I have been there 10-20 times and have always been impressed with the food. The service is hit or miss but the sushi rolls never fail to make me say "mmmmmmmm" as soon as I take a bite. My favorites: the yummy roll, spider roll, okinawa roll. The seaweed and japanese house salads are also both excellent. Sitting at the sushi bar is also fun and their cocktails are delicious. I have never had a bad experience there and it's my favorite sushi place in Raleigh.
Miss, do you know what a smile is?.
Any possible appreciation of the food was all but obliterated by the extremely poor service we received while we were there. I will not, however, fault the entire restaurant for this, since friends of mine have told me that they received decent service on other occasions.
Rather, I think much of my negative opinion of the restaurant was a result of our waitress, Sophie's, extremely bad attitude and neglect of our table. This waitress came to our table literally four times during the course of our dinner, which lasted for well over 1.5 hours since some members of our party came a little late. About 25 minutes between her stops. Drinks took very long to come, food took even longer to come, and the desserts were also very delayed. Granted, this probably points to a problem the restaurant's food and drink preparation time, and was outside of our waitress' control, but such long gaps between food being ready could easily have been covered with a graceful apology for the delay and a little extra attention from her. Instead, we got no smile, the bare minimum of politeness, no refills on our drinks, no asking us whether we wanted to order anything else.
By the end of the evening, I was seriously contemplating either leaving a very small tip or none at all. However, when our bill came, we discovered that this particular restaurant automatically adds a gratuity of 18% to our total. I for one was outraged by this because I did not feel our waitress deserved such a high tip - considering the fact that she did nothing more than take our orders, plop our drinks and food in front of us after an extremely long wait, and then studiously ignore us for the rest of the time until we managed to grab her attention long enough to order dessert and ask for the check. When we tried to ask her about the tip issue, she was both rude and patronizing.
In conclusion, if you ever decide to eat at this restaurant, be aware that if you receive bad service, you can and SHOULD question the automatic gratuity charge. And of course, keep and eye out for the waitress Sophie. This could have just been a bad/off day for her - I've worked in the restaurant industry, I can relate - or it could be her usual style for treating customers.
Sit At The Bar.
I absolutely love Shaba Shabu. I ate here for the first time 4 years ago and still think it is the best sushi in the area. I have celebrated 3 birthdays here and plan on visiting many many more times. However, my advice is Sit At The Bar!
If I had only sat at a table at Shaba Shabu, I doubt that I would feel the same way about this restaurant. The service in the dining room leaves a lot to be desired, the wait staff can be short and not very attentive. However, it is completely different at the bar. The service is much faster and the bartenders are much friendlier and attentive.
I used to REALLY love the decor and atmosphere, however it seems that a year ago they painted the walls in the bar area white and I haven't seen a DJ there in a while.
Conclusion: Sit at the bar, order some sushi, go home happy.
Love This Place. Been there a few times over the years. My wife and I love it. Can't wait to go back.
Bad Japanese Food.
# of visits: 2 (it was enough)
The Good: The good is that you have the option of choosing between large variety of items from their Thai and Japanese menu. The selections are vast and much to choose from. The cocktails were well made and the staff friendly. They even had some authentic shabu shabu tables which I was looking forward to test out. Out of the three categories of their food(sushi, Thai, shabu shabu) I'd say the Thai food stood out of the rest. Definitely not the best Thai in the area but then again, I'm not an expert on Thai food.
The Bad: With all the people's good review of the sushi at this place I did have some expectations but they were not met. I sat at the sushi bar in one of my visits and it did not have a very clean odor. I could smell some fishiness in the air. That is a bad sign. Then I noticed that they pre-cut their fish. I haven't seen restaurants do this in a long time. On occasion I see a really busy restaurant do this but they were slow at the time. With a little hesitation I ordered salmon, tuna, and red snapper nigiri to start off with a bottle of hot sake. I took one bite of the pre-cut salmon and was reluctant to finish it. It had a slimy texture and a off smell(probably due to pre-slicing) that bothered me. The tuna was just your average frozen yellow fin tuna. The red snapper was also the frozen tilapia that most sushi bars in the area uses. Overall the flavors of the rice and the fish did not impress me at all. The sushi rolls that we ordered were better then the nigiri sushi but was just average in my opinion. Nothing too special for me to want to return. As far as the shabu shabu, I'll keep it real simple. I do NOT recommend it at all. Shabu shabu was one of my comfort food when I was back in Japan and I'm an expert in the field. I did not try to compare it to the ones back home but it was just awful. I'm sorry to be so mean about it but I could not believe they messed up so bad on such a simple dish.
Summary: It's a nice place to grab a few drinks and have a few Thai dishes and some rolls at a decent price point. The atmosphere was slick and contemporary but lacking some details in some areas if you look closely. I don't think they have had proper training when it comes to Japanese food so stay away from all the Japanese food menu much as possible. The rolls are OK and I will try some of the ones people recommended below if I go back. That is a big IF though with the sushi bar experience.
Service so bad it's surreal.
This place is truly awful. If you like it, get it well you can, because it will not be open long.
I went to the Durham location last night for a drink and a light meal. I was one of only six or so diners in the place and the only one at the bar. I ordered a vodka martini with a twist. The bar tender disappeared for a while (to ask how to make a martini). When she returned she banged around out of site for a while and when she finally emerged, she handed me a glass with (I'm not kidding) the rind of half a lemon in it!
The bartender was totally unfriendly, and when she brought me soup, she slammed it on the table so that it sloshed all around. She did not say a word to me, even after I thanked her.
Then she disappeared and was replaced by a very chatty woman who was the bar manager and a wannabe comedian. She proceeded to tell me about how the bartender is dating a cook and they are fighting and that she had to have her step outside. Too much information and she would not shut up.
All I had was miso soup and a salmon roll, which were both unremarkable. It was so depressing in there I had to leave.
I was also turned off by the commercialization of the Buddha by these people.
I guarantee that many of these excellent reviews are by family, friends, and staff! What a joke. Whoever owns/manages this place needs to get a clue!
Don't judge a book by it's cover....
I have been to Shaba-Shabu twice since moving to NC in 2006. I had excellent previous experiences, and convinced my boyfriend to take us here for our date night. We called in a reservation, and a table was ready for us upon our arrival. We had a friendly waiter who took our drink order and made us feel at home.
We ordered our appitizer (sushi roll) and entree's and up to this point, I was very impressed with this restaurant. Then my opinion went down hill. I was not pleased with the Taste of the Sushi roll, the presentation was great, but the taste - NOT so great. Then our entree's arrived. The ratio of noodles:shrimp (meat) was Ridiculous! There was enough Pad Thai noodles to feed four people, and 5 shrimp. Tiny shrimp that were not very flavorful at that! My boyfriend was making a funny little comment, when the waiter overheard him and grabbed the Manager. He came over and told me that there were supposed to be 5 shrimp, but that he would buy us dessert to "make up" for it. I told him that was unneccessary.. but he kept mouthing (er.. talking) until I finally said ok.
Now - I understand that the economy is not as it once was .. but FIVE shrimp was UNacceptable! I work Part time in a VERY nice restaurant in downtown Raleigh, and can understand "cutting back a little bit" but this was ridiculous! The waiter was VERY nice, and tried very hard to make up for the manager's attitude. The ambiance and warmth of the restaurant made up for the taste of the appitizer, but I will not be going back to Shaba-Shabu again! It was not worth the money or aggrevation...
Wonderful place... disregard the nasty review below..
Judging by the tone of the review below, I think the attitude problem lay with the diners. We order takeout from ShabaShabu almost weekly, and dine in about once a month. The staff are always courteous and the sushi is fresh, well-presented and (most importantly) delicious!
Last time we were there we ordered a bottle of wine that turned out to be unavailable that day. Our waiter, who was very personable and enthusiastic, recommended a similar offering... it was more expensive, but they charged us the price of the bottle we originally wanted, saving us around $10. Overall, the prices are very reasonable; I'm not sure why, but sushi in Raleigh tends to be WAY overpriced in general. I've been to pretty much every sushi place in town, and the quality you usually get at a comparable price is terrible (I'm looking at you, Sushi Blues).
I don't really like Thai, so I can't speak for that half of the menu, but the Japanese offerings are stellar. The seaweed salad is the best I've had anywhere. Try the Hurricane roll, Yummy roll, or good old-fashioned Futomaki. For dessert, try the green tea ice cream. You won't be disappointed : )
Verbally attacked at Shaba Shabu.
My partner and I were given a $150 gift Certificate to this "restaurant", we went to dinner there and met some very nice people at the bar that were also having dinner. We ended up going over the limit of the gift and spent a good bit extra. We paid the extra and left a normal tip for the service we received. On the way out the waiter that we found out later was the owner's nephew had the nerve to ask why we didnt leave more of a tip. We did speak to the manager Peter, if he is even that, about what happen. He pleaded with me not to tell our friend what had happend and ask us to come back as his guests. Which we did two days later. When we got to the restaurant, we did eat and have drinks.
In the process of our dinner we observed other parties having some difficulties with both the service staff and Peter the manager. I actually heard this man raise his voice and demeanor to a woman who was half his size. My partner and I ask to speak with him to say thank you for dinner and wanted to leave. We waited over 30 minutes to speak with him and he never came back to our table. We saw him at the front and was about to go and thank him for the meal, when a very sarcastic waitress ( I wouldnt even call her a young lady) said something that was completely uncalled to the effect of "they couldnt have done it without us. When we spoke to Peter, he stood there like I was speaking with my feet. Then we were verbally attacked by two other members of the staff. After all of this the so called "manager" stood there like the useless piece of furniture that he was and said nothing.
While we were in the parking lot speaking to one of the other FOUR parties about their horrible experiences, another member of the staff came out and again verbally attacked my partner and I.
The food is overall not bad, the restaurant is really pretty on the inside, but the staff and the management are more than just lacking. I will NEVER go back and will do every thing I can to make sure that my friends, business partners, and family do the same thing. I have never been so insulted by a company in my entire life. Please save yourself , friends and family the hassle of having to deal with being insulted and offened, just order your local Chinese food from home.
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