Shabusen Yakiniku House on Burrard and Robson, Vancouver

It was Arkensen’s birthday some weeks ago. So, the birthday boy gets to choose where he wanted to go eat. We already know what he wants. His favourite food, other than fried rice, is sushi. Quality is secondary to quantity. He loves lots of it. Sometimes he would eat and eat until he suddenly stops and tell us he feel sick. That’s my boy!

Sigh … Suanne and I had resigned to fate that my two boys will never take over chowtimes some day. Just last weekend, I asked if he reads chowtimes at all. Sheepishly, he told us “not a lot”.

“Oh? Like once a week?”, I asked.

“No. Longer than that”, he smiled.

Arkensen hardly ever reads chowtimes it seems. He just have no interest in food. However, I think someday when he is much older, he will be able to look back on what his dad wrote about him and be able to recall the hundreds of meals we had together. This will be priceless I know. His younger brother on the other hand reads chowtimes everyday.


Anyway, there are not many good Japanese AYCEs (All-you-can-eat) around. Last fall, we had a great time at the Shabusen Yakiniku on Granville and so I thought this time we go to this other Shabusen in downtown.

I did not have a good start. When I called for reservation, the person on the line sounded quite brusque. He sounded like he was unhappy to entertain my questions regarding parking and prices. In my usual self, I shrugged it aside but that first impression was not good. Anyway, it was Arkensen’s birthday and if he looked forward to eating there, I’ll go.


We were there early as we usually like to start meals before the crowd came in. At 11:30AM, the place was quiet but it was not for long. The place was filled with customers at peak lunch time.

Service was good, prompt and polite, although impersonal. There were none of the brusque behaviour I encountered earlier on the phone.

The interior has the same elaborate decor like the other Shabusen on Granville. We like it.


The restaurant is large too and they have great seats. There is even a section where you get to sit in a boat! That was kind of fun but that boat/table is meant for larger parties.

So we got seated by the window overlooking Burrard Street. If there is anything I am most impressed about both Shabusens, it is their location, decor and views.


Shabusen is a Japanese sushi and Korean BBQ AYCE restaurant. The AYCE menu is simple and is all on the 1-pager menu.


Our strategy this time was to concentrate on the BBQ and get only a bit of sushi. Or at least that was what our intention were.



The BBQ was lovely. The last time we had EIGHT bowls of the meat but this time we only had TWO. This is all because we totally over ordered the sushis and was forced to bail out the boys when they started saying they felt sick!

What a waste! Suanne and I was looking on gorging ourselves on the BBQ.

If you had never tried the Korean BBQ here before, I think you will like it. Sure, the meat here isn’t top notch but it is tasty with the sweet sauce and marinates. They even have a big bottle of sweet sauce that we use as a dip. So you can just imagine how moist the meat were.

Moreover, we love the nice smell of the BBQ. One thing though, you need to have … time and patience eating this. It takes time to cook individual pieces. If you are in a hurry, this is not for you.


The AYCE here includes sashimis. Most other places will charge extra for sashimis.

The interesting thing is they did not indicate a limit to the amount of sashimi you could order. However, only the tuna sashimi is available. No salmon sashimi here.

Is tuna cheaper than salmon? I guess it is.


This is where we went wrong. Not only did we end up ordering too much sushi, their sushis are very big. Like this cones here … a couple of this would suffice for a light lunch already.


Oh … the crab stick sushi (top right picture) is one of the most horrible thing I had tasted. I can’t believe they even serve this. All the others are just so-so … nothing I would term as delicious … not one of them. But when I asked my boys, they said they are good. Well, if they are happy that is what matters.



The other stuff are OK … some miss, some hit. Overall, it was just so-so. Suanne and I wasn’t particularly impressed this time round. We actually felt disappointed here unlike when we first had it in the Granville location. Maybe it is because we over ordered the sushis and was disappointed that we did not get our fair share of the Korean BBQ which we looked forward to so much.


The boys were so worried that we will be dinged for having unfinished food. As much as we tried to bail them out, it was simply too much for us. In the end, we had the above left untouched which was quite a lot.

Can you spot why these are left untouched? Let me tell you that our boys absolutely hate food that are green in colour. Yeah, they hate veggies and all things green. If there is a piece of cucumber or avocado in the sushi, they will not touch it with a ten foot pole.


Suanne and I was saying that for $56.70 we could have gotten much better sushi elsewhere with change too. We felt it just wasn’t worth it this time round.

Shabusen Yakiniku House on Urbanspoon

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  1. Yen

    Your time at Shabusen is like mine. : ) The Burrard and Robsen one just isn’t as good as the one on Granville. Customer service not very good, and food not much either.

    Your boys sound so cute;; haha.

    1. Ben

      Shh, Yen. Don’t say that. They hate to be called cute. 🙂

      1. Marike

        Hahaha… at least Arkensen won’t see the “cute” comments for a while. 😉

  2. monchichi

    Hi Ben, that little chat about your boys is exactly why I really enjoy reading your posts, you make it seem like you’re chatting with us and letting us know these little details, which makes it so interesting! Keep it up!

  3. trisha

    ooh, i’ve been here and regret it. bad service, bad food. glad you had a (somewhat) better experience. eventually your boys will find out how delicious avacado is!

  4. Fiona

    Shabusen is one of my favourite restaurants… BUT only the Granville one! =P The downtown one isn’t as good, like you’ve noticed. You know what you should have tried? Their green tea/coffee jello, which is my favourite item from there. But this is only available in the Granville location; when I went to the downtown location they had green tea jello without the coffee part, which makes a big difference!

    1. Fiona

      Hmm I guess it’s only available during dinner time; I think if you like sweets (Suanne does, right) you’ll enjoy it. I can have 10 bowls of this all by myself, haha..

  5. Eat. Travel. Eat!

    Gee, those sushi look giant. I too can not believe why the crab stick is just served like that. They could have at least cut it into a smaller slice or added sauce to it! Everything looked quite good beforehand but there is so much sushi!

    I agree, writing now is a good idea :). For me it will remind me what I did in the past. And if they are writing it they can notice how they change in their writing style as time goes on.

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