Lunch at Osawa, October 28, 2014

There are many restaurants that do a very traditional treatment of meat called Shabu Shabu, but no one does what Osawa does with such finesse. They combine a small sushi bar with a Shabu Shabu bar all under the same roof, pretty much unheard of in the greater Los Angeles area. Osawa celebrated its 1-year anniversary back in April; they added more Sake and new menu items. Wow! Right in the heart of Old Town Pasadena, is this fantastic find!

The interior is elegant and upscale, with the service being very accommodating. My Shabu Shabu server Fernando, know as Nando-Son, really taught me everything I ever needed to know about how to prepare your Shabu Shabu experience. The name Shabu Shabu translates by taking a piece of meat and dipping it back and forth in its broth until it reaches your mouth. There are lots of condiments and dipping sauces beside the boiling broth that you put it in. Nando-son gave me a nice big bowl with, cabbage, onions, tofu, mushrooms, and spinach, all to be dropped in the cooking broth. They offer you a few different kinds of broth, I chose chicken. But the broth is not seasoned; it is just very pure and light. It is up to you to choose which sauce you want to dip it in. They have a creamy peanut sauce, and a ponzu type sauce. What ever your pleasure you will find Shabu Shabu, to be fun and very delicious. They have a deli style meat cutter right there behind the Shabu Shabu counter so your able to see exactly where the meat comes from and its great quality. It is such a novel experience, one you must try in this lifetime.

Here’s what I tried:

Beer & Sake:

Sapporo Beer, they give you a large bottle and it is extremely light and thirst quenching. Beer is always my go to drink with sushi or Shabu Shabu, its light and adds a quality that you will not get from wine.

Kikusui Junmai Ginjo, Cold Sake, special brew using 100% highly polished gohyakumangoku sake rice refreshing and dry.

Gekkeikan Horin Junmai Daiginjo, Cold Sake, Mild fruity aroma, smooth with a long clean finish, cream body.


Crunchy Cucumber, this is a great way to start a glorious lunch. Its just cucumber sliced and served with a delicate sauce.

Nikusimo Eggplant, this is sweet baked eggplant, and is just wonderful.

Baked Soy Marinated Black Cod, with salad, cold tofu, rice, and miso soup. The cod is glazed with soy and is a very fresh, delightful lunch item.

Beef & Pork Shabu Shabu, tofu, Napa cabbage, udon. This Shabu Shabu method is light and healthy. You do your own cooking, and dipping, and its just steamed vegetables and meat. This is a great way to get your veg and protein in one unique lunch.


Salmon, Unagi, Yellowtail, Live Halibut, Scallop, Rainbow Roll, Kanpach. All the sushi was very fresh and flavorful. I would come here just for the sushi if I were in the mood for that.

Sayuri Tachibe, Owner of Osawa says, “Owning a business can be a great deal of work and long hours, but I’m enjoying the role of owner, manager and being together alongside my co-workers. What is most rewarding is seeing our many regular guests that come to the restaurant two or three times a week. Osawa is like their kitchen at home.”

Chef Seiji Nakano did not disappoint, he came on board for their 1-year anniversary, they say he has magic hands, and by the looks of things lots of rabbits were pulled out of his hat. The sushi is just that good!

Chef Norio Yoshikawa, a veteran of Katana and Kagaya has been with Osawa since it’s inception. He has crafted the art of Shabu Shabu by using some amazing traditional ingredients, wagyu beef and newly added tonkotsu kurobuta pork.

What I loved about Osawa is how unpretentious it is, and how simple just great food can be. It is right in Old Town Pasadena, and a hop skip and a jump from Colorado Blvd. The staff was very helpful; they made you feel right at home. It’s a unique experience but one that everyone needs to try!

Sayuri’s attention to “Omotenashi”, a traditional form of Japanese hospitality that focuses on treating guests like royalty, and making them as comfortable as you would if they were being welcomed to your home. Sayuri has succeeded with this ancient custom. Next time you want the comforts of home with an elegant twist, try Osawa!

Mon – Sun | 11:30am to 2:30pm
Mon – Thu & Sun | 5:00pm to 9:30pm
Fri & Sat | 5:00pm to 10:00pm

77 North Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91103


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