When we arrived, the dragon lady of Kagaya told us that we were too early (10 min) and we should come back later. Kagaya runs your prix fix meal to run 1.5 hours and they seat you accordingly. You should make reservations. We went to Pinkberry to get a sample of their new flavors to kill some time. When you know you have to kill some time, talking becomes chore-like.
The prix fix menu includes 2 appetizers, your choice of shabu shabu, your choice of rice soup or udon, and your choice of dessert. It will run you about $50 each. The quality of the meat and seafood is great. I personally would not go for wagyu beef because it's being boiled so the fat will just boil off, but it's up to you big spender.
First appetizer of shrimp and eggplant. Subtle, fresh and clean tasting.
Look how they pour the sake to the top.
Fresh water eel broth. So japanese. So nice.
Chawanmushi. Light and elegant.
Seafood shabu shabu plate (minus the clams which were tossed in the hot seas).
The center of attention. The hot pot. There are no special chopsticks provided so you should ask for an extra set unless you want to swish swish with the ones that have been in your mysterious mouth.
Beef. I think 30 seconds is plenty. Just until it's barely pink. That's the one and only cooking tip I'll ever give you.
My plate of clams and napa cabbage.
Glass noodles, beef, chrysanthemum and bachu (don't know the English word).
The sesame sauce is great, as is the ponzu.
At about 1 hour and 10 minutes after the start, they take away your hot pot and make either an udon or a rice soup for you. We opted for the rice soup. It was the best part of the meal with sour plums imparting a perfumed presence most pleasant and plummy. A very memorable end to the meal.
The desserts were surprisingly masterful. The banana creme pie and ice cream was particularly deft and delicious.
These are the other patrons. Our nearest neighbors were a 4-top of doctors whose conversation was boring to the max. So was ours, I'm sure.
Kagaya is nice but rather expensive for a swish swish joint. I'm sure you could find a better value shabu shabu experience, but it's nice for a special treat. The clams, the oysters and the crab legs were particularly fresh and flavorful. I don't think you'd get that at most shabu shabu places. Neither would you get the lovely appetizers and dessert. Also, I kind of liked the dragon lady. She runs a tight ship. She must write down your arrival time so she can bring the rice soup and dessert to you to boot you out on time for the next customers. Good woman.