Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, February 9, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 9



 Mountain Views News Saturday, February 9, 2013 


My first experience with a shabu-shabu restaurant was about 15 years ago in Studio City at 
a Todai Shabu Shabu, you know the one’s famous for their seafood/sushi buffets. Years later 
I visited Tokyo Shabu Shabu in Monterey Park and really enjoyed it, so I was really happy 
to see the concept make its way to Pasadena. Remember the Boiling Pot on South Lake? I 
didn’t think so.

So what exactly is “shabu-shabu”? It means “swish –swish” in Japanese, like the sound made 
from the food in the cooking pot. The idea is that you cook your own meal -- don’t worry 
if that turns some of you off, I promise it is a very painless procedure. Do you like steak, 
lamb, or chicken? Of course you do!! The meat entrees are all raw and very thinly sliced, 
and you cook it in boiling hot water right at your table. I shouldn’t say water -- it is a 
choice of “Fusion Broths”. A few of the ones that we tried were Spicy Kimchi and Kombu, 
translation… water and kelp. For those less adventurous, go ahead and order the miso; it is 
light and won’t confuse the tastes of your meats and vegetables. Before we got going on our 
entrees owner Darren insisted that we try his Jellyfish ($4.99) and Chicken Wings ($5.99). 
Chicken Wings at an Asian restaurant? My friend Sean Lorenzini who has a “champagne 
appetite and champagne budget” exclaimed 
that they were the best chicken wings he has 
ever had. Certainly good!!

Like any family style restaurant, I 
suggest bringing a party of at least 
four to be able to try many dishes. As I 
mentioned earlier all meats come thinly 
sliced and you grab it with chopsticks 
and place in boiling water for just a few 
seconds to cook. Vegetables are also 
available, although I admit I cheated a 
little and skipped the veggies. The menu 
describes the meats as steak house style 
meat, and who am I to argue? Kobe 
Rib Eye, fine steak house quality meat 
and very tender was my favorite of the 
choices. You know how we love baby 
backs that fall off the bone? Well, the 
rib eye was melt-in-your-mouth tender, 
yes it was that good! Certified Angus Beef Rib Eye -- a little less expensive than the above-
mentioned Kobe rib eye, but as close to heaven as you can get. For you chicken lovers 
please by all means try the Jidori All-Natural Chicken, popular in Japan and I can taste why. 
Owner Darren tells me that his favorite dish is the Lamb Loin, all-natural lamb which is also 
very tender. A real winner, Darren! Can’t make up your mind? Tokyo Shabu Shabu does 
offer a Mixed Seafood plate with salmon, shrimp, scallops and mussels.

There is something for everyone here 
at Tokyo Shabu Shabu -- come hungry 
and bring a few friends. Prices will be 
around $30 per person. Beer and sake 
are available. If you can save room for 
dessert, have the green tea ice cream.

The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, 
and there is a very clean look to the 
interior, almost retro clean. 

Two Thumbs up!

Tokyo Shabu Shabu 345 S. Lake 
Ave (enter on Del Mar) Pasadena 
(626) 844-7355check out www. for hours and 


Spice-Coated Rack of Lamb for Two with Arugula, 
Avocado, and Blood Orange Salad


For lamb: 

1 heaping tablespoon whole cumin seeds 

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder 

1 tablespoon mild-roast coffee, finely ground 

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

1 (8-bone; 24-to 26-ounce) rack of lamb 

3 tablespoons canola oil 

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with 
back of knife 

3 sprigs fresh thyme 

For salad: 

Juice of 1 blood orange (about 1/4 cup) 

1 tablespoon shallot, minced (from 1 small 

3/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt 

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

1 firm but ripe Haas avocado, peeled and cut 
into 1/4-inch-thick slices 

2 cups (1 ounce) loosely packed baby arugula 

1 blood orange, peeled, segmented, and 

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills

PreparationMake lamb:

Pre-heat oven to 400°F. 

Using spice or coffee grinder, grind cumin to semi-fine powder, 
then transfer to small bowl. Whisk in cocoa powder, coffee, 
and pepper. 

Rub exposed lamb bones with 1 tablespoon canola oil, then 
wrap each bone in foil, covering bones completely and leaving 
meat uncovered. Sprinkle both sides of uncovered lamb with kosher salt, then rub with spice 

In heavy, 12-inch oven-safe sauté pan over high heat, heat remaining 2 tablespoons canola 
oil until hot but not smoking. Sear rack, meat side down, moving occasionally to prevent 
sticking, until deep golden brown and crust forms, about 2 minutes. Flip to sear underside 
in same manner, about 2 minutes, then sear bottom of rack in same manner, 2 minutes more. 

Flip rack back to meat side up, then transfer pan to oven and roast 7 minutes. Add butter, 
garlic, and thyme to pan and continue roasting until thermometer inserted 2 inches into 
thickest part of lamb (do not touch bone) registers 130°F (for medium rare), 7 to 8 minutes 
more. Tilt pan to collect juices and spoon those over meat. Transfer lamb to rack with pan or 
plate underneath to catch juices and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. 

Make salad:

In small bowl, whisk together blood orange juice, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon 
pepper. Gradually add olive oil and whisk vigorously to combine. (Vinaigrette can be prepared 
ahead and refrigerated, covered, up to 2 days. Whisk thoroughly before using.) 

To plate:

Divide avocado between two plates, fanning out slices over half of plate. Top with arugula 
and drizzle with vinaigrette. Top with blood orange segments and sprinkle with remaining 
1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. 

Remove foil from lamb bones. Slice rack into 4 double chops and transfer to plates alongside 
salad. Serve immediately. 

SIERRA BRIGANTI - Review by Deanne Davis

We have a new restaurant in town! Always an exciting event, but in this case, even more 
exciting! The space which originally held Charcuterie, which many of us just loved, right 
there next to The Only Place In Town Café, is now Sierra Briganti, beautifully refurbished, 
featuring indoor and outdoor dining.

I’ve visited twice now, last Friday night where my darling husband, John, and I shared the 
lasagna and a Caesar salad. A delightful meal, let me tell you, with better lasagna than I 
could possibly make, with a béchamel sauce and just the right amount of cheese; and the 
salad was cold and crisp romaine topped with nice slivers of grated cheese. 

Even the water at Sierra Briganti is lovely. No huge icebergs, no slices of citrus, but pleasingly 
cold with a hint of lemon. Now, I ask you, can it get better than that!

We had a splendid glass of merlot. The service was wonderful. The décor is lovely, 
understated, with flowers, candles and pumpkin-painted walls. Very pleasing to the eye and 
restful to the mind. A little Dean Martin on the stereo and a number of folks who were glad 
to be able to enjoy Sierra Brigante in our own town, instead of trekking all the way down to 
South Pasadena to visit the Sierra Brigante there,

The dinner menu includes Calamari Fritti,, Fettucine Bolognese, Spaghetti di Mare, ravioli, 
Pollo Parmigiana and a grilled salmon with roasted potatoes and vegetables. Prices are 
moderate, $14-$18 for dinner and $9.00 to $14.00 for lunch. There are also very special 
specials presented by the smiling, pleasant staff.

Lunch today with a dear friend, al fresco, the mountains behind us more beautiful than one 
could imagine. We both enjoyed the Insalata di Salmone, ($14.00) a grilled Salmon filet over 
mixed greens, tomatoes and red onion slivers with a lemon dressing. A glass or two of a 
delicious Chardonnay made for an absolutely perfect afternoon. 

Bruschetta al Pomodoro started our lunch and it was a delight. Bread soft and fresh enough 
to hold the tomatoes and the right amount of grated cheese. Yum! 

Other luncheon choices include Insalata de Tonno – Imported tuna in olive oil, over mixed 
greens, canelinni beans, tomatoes and red onions in a lemon dressing. There are also 
sandwiches galore, featuring chicken, fresh mozzarella, grilled flank steak, no, not all on the 
same sandwich! AND, Mimosas for just $5.00!! There is a freshly made soup of the day, 
which was broccoli without cream. Our waistlines thank you.

Sierra Brigante has been beautifully imagined and constructed by Zach Abeyta, partner to 
Nanni Mastromatteo, who is the proprietor of the South Pasadena store. 

Hours are still being decided. But right now it’s Monday-Friday 11:30 – 9:30 and Saturday-
Sunday Brunch coming soon starting at 9:00 a.m..

The staff is attentive, but not hovering, the food is delightful, the view is divine and I say, it’s 
great to dine right here in town. 

Welcome, Sierra Briganti, we’re glad you’re here!

Sierra Briganti is at 120 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre 91024. Phone: 626-355-3700

Happy Valentine’s DayCelebrate Love and Friendship in the perfect cup of tea. In a romantic, peaceful setting.
RSVP (626) 355-004575 N. Baldwin Ave., Sierra Madre, CA 91024 
OpenTues - Sat11am - 4pmSundays 
open forgroups 
of 20 
or morePrivate SpaceAvailable 
for Bridal & 
Baby Showers, 

The Sierra Madre Farmer’s Market hours have changed to 3:00pm through 7:00pm every Wednesday 
in fall and winter. Vendors include Dry Dock which has fresh and wild caught fish, Rustic 
Loaf with artisan breads, Cutie Pie with fresh pies and much more!

For those interested in being a vendor contact Melissa Farwell with Raw Inspirations at 818-591-
8161 ext. 806.