Chanko Shabu & Bar

Healthy Comfort Food
Chanko Shabu & Bar

When it’s cold outside, you can’t help but crave something that warms you to the core. In America, this typically translates to gravy, biscuits and casseroles–foods that, while not particularly attractive to look at, soothe the soul and wrap you in a comfy blanket of calories. And, while there’s nothing wrong with occasionally indulging in what’s sure to generate an impending food coma, wouldn’t it be nice to have a healthier option that’s equally satisfying? Chanko Shabu & Bar, located at 5808 Spring Mountain Rd., Suite 103, is the answer, specializing in Japanese Shabu-Shabu (hot pot), Seiro Mushi and the ever popular Sukiyaki that’s as pretty to look at as it is to eat.


Brought to us by the proprietors of Hobak, the Korean BBQ restaurant located right next door, Chanko uses the same high quality ingredients and attention to detail as their sister restaurant. Wagyu Ribeye and Short Ribs, Prime Ribeye, Muji Fuji Pork and a Seafood combo are all on the menu, accompanied by nourishing broths, veg and noodles rich in flavor and nutrients.  You’ve got three different preparations to choose from as well, each producing a slightly different result in flavor and texture, with all presenting the tasty and visually stunning plate we’ve come to expect from authentic Japanese cuisine.


Shabu-Shabu uses flavored broth to cook the wafer thin meats of choice. A large, paper bowl placed in a bamboo basket is positioned onto a heating element that somehow gets hot enough to boil the liquid without charring the vessel. Filled with different varietals of exotic mushrooms, greens, squash and fish, the bowl contains either Kombu, Spicy Miso Pork or Garlic Pork broth that transforms into a flavorful and hearty soup.  Once boiling, you’ll place the meat into the broth and cook until desired doneness. Besides the proteins, you’ll find yourself fishing out other edible treats, items that include spicy filled dumplings, gorgeous carrots and seafood. In addition, they provide either udon or pumpkin noodles to throw into the mix, the latter a texturally satisfy alternative that thickens the rich broth for slurping when you’re done cooking.      


Perhaps more obscure to the LV diner, Seiro Mushi cooks the meats via steaming in a wooden box. Also prepared plate side, meats and vegetables are artfully presented in a Retinispora tree box that’s covered and placed on a pot of boiling water that steams the contents.  The texture of the finished meat is impeccable, melt in your mouth goodness, providing all of the rich flavor you’d expect, yet without any grease.  As an added bonus, the tree radiates phytoncide, a natural antibiotic purported to relieve stress and provide additional nutrients. Regardless of which cooking method you choose, the meal comes with your choice of six different dipping sauces that include a deliciously nutty goma, traditional ponzu, a very spicy garlic and a mustard sauce that adds a nice acidity to the fattier meats.


There are no tables in Chanko, diners being set up at a u-shaped bar fitted with individual heating elements, so…much like a sushi bar, it’s not entirely set up for lively convo if you’re in a large group. And, to date, they still don’t have their liquor license, although the Hobak chain has the clout to get that up and running shortly. Still, it’s a beautiful, modern restaurant that delivers a comforting vibe and food that’s healthy, fresh and satisfying.  I’d choose it over biscuits any day. For info, call 702-445-6665.