When Shaab shuttered it left Pasadena devoid of shabu shabu. Now Osawa has taken over the exact same spot, serving shabu Shabu, sushi, and otsumami (small plates). Osawa is owned by Sayuri Tachibe, the wife of Chaya's corporate chef, Shigefumi Tachibe.
I went with Wandering Chopsticks who I know doesn't drink much so I ordered something sweeter that she can enjoy, a yuzu sake called Aladdin. Definitely easy to drink.
Seafood Cigar with To-Ban-Jan Mayo ($8)
We also tried the chicken karaage, which was alright but nothing special.
I was already getting wagyu and since I was there for a comped dinner I didn't want to be too greedy so for sushi initially I only ordered some uni. Because I have to have uni. Normally they have Santa Barbara uni but I got lucky because they actually had Hokkaido uni that night!
The shabu shabu is served with a bowl of vegetables, udon, and glass noodles. They don't give as much vegetables as some other places and I thought the udon was kind of mushy, but the meat quality makes up for it.
Now, Osawa is one of the few places to get wagyu beef for shabu shabu. Sure, places like Mizu 212 serves "wagyu" beef but those are actually Kobe-style beef from Oregon. Osawa, on the other hand, serves high grade wagyu from the Saga prefecture in Japan. In other words, real wagyu.
If you want to try the wagyu but don't have the $89 to spend on an order, you can get a half order for $39 (with purchase of a full order of a different shabu shabu - which you can share with another person like we did).
Next to each other you can really tell the difference between wagyu and regular prime beef! So. Much. Fat. I mean marbling.
Later on I couldn't resist getting toro after all, so we also shared an order. Melt in your mouth ..
There were only a couple of options for dessert, but one of them was a black sesame panna cotta
The shabu shabu and the sushi were the stars in this meal for me. The appetizers we tried were good but did not stand out. If you can afford it, I would recommend splurging for the wagyu at least once. I only tried two of the sushi, but the two were excellent so I have high confidence that their other sushi would be good. Wagyu aside, their prices are pretty reasonable and lunch is more affordable with beef shabu for $14 and a sashimi lunch for $18. The lunch menu also has other items I wanted to try, like a cold udon with sesame dipping sauce ($10) and beef curry rice ($9).
77 N Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA 91103