In 2002, Kevin Valaika, a long-time ski local, convinced his brother Bob, then a resident of Aspen, Colorado, to move to Utah for more than just the Greatest Snow on Earth®: the brotherly team of restaurant veterans wanted to serve up a new style of dining on Park City’s historic Main Street. Since its debut in 2004, Shabu has received praise for its unique freestyle Asian cuisine that blends the region’s celebrated dishes with fresh, global flavors. The menu, which is known for its freestyle Asian cuisine, reflects the very nature of Park City’s lifestyle. Just like freestyle skiing or mountain biking that is found in a mountain town, Shabu experiments with creative features to showcase a new innovation or idea.
The Valaika brothers attribute the combination of their restaurant-savvy skills to the success of Shabu. Kevin developed a sharp business mind after many years at high-end restaurants in Park City. Bob established a unique taste for culinary arts under the influence of notable restaurateur Charlie Trotter and acclaimed Asian-fusion chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Together, the Valaika duo has created one of Park City’s most distinguished and creative restaurants.
Shabu shabu is a Japanese “hot pot” meal that lets you be the chef. Customize your own shabu shabu with a selection of savory homemade broths, made-to-order bento boxes and a variety of dipping sauces. When your bento box is empty, fresh udon noodles are ladled into the flavored broth to turn your shabu shabu into a rich and simple soup.
Shabu shabu traces back to the 13th century in Mongolia during the ruling of Genghis Khan. Nomadic armies that served under the emperor developed this “hot pot” cooking as a way to stay nourished and conserve fuel supplies while on the move. Thinly sliced meat was threaded onto skewers and boiled in hot broth, making a swishing sound as it simmered. Centuries later in 1955, a restaurant in Osaka, Japan began serving this “hot pot” to its patrons, that quickly rose in popularity, and dubbed the dish shabu shabu – which translates to “swish swish” in English.