Cocoro Shabu de Fondue

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CoCoRo (meaning "heart" in Japanese) is distinctive, according to management, on two fronts: It offers ramen noodle dishes and, more importantly, is one of only two places in the city that features shabu fondue--thinly sliced prime beef and veggies cooked using hot water, seaweed and salt rather than the traditional and more caloric oil or grease fondue. To facilitate this cook-your-own-meal experience, each of the 14 tables is equipped with a central burner on which the fondue pot is placed. Along with the shabu, CoCoRo is heavy on sushi. In general, management said, CoCoRo's menu is more extensive than most Japanese restaurants. A seven-seat sushi bar is at the rear, fronting the bar (not a full bar--mainly serving several types of sake, Sapporo and Asaki and some domestic beers and wines). With a sparsely appointed but smart interior and friendly waitstaff, this could be a great first-date restaurant. Cooking your own meal supplies entertainment while doubly acting as an ice-breaker.