Josh and Andrew Strickland, like many other teenagers, were trying to earn pocket money by washing dishes at a restaurant in California.
Over their 14 years at that restaurant, the Stricklands learned the delicate art of preparing Japanese dishes from the restaurant’s owner, Taka Itoyama.
That first job planted the seed for what would become the concept for Yoshi Shabu Shabu, which the two brothers opened with Itoyama in March of last year in Plano.
“He taught us everything from dishwasher to manager,” Josh said. “He got a little older and was getting kind of tired. … When he sold the restaurant, he took the sauces. So all the sauces are a family recipe from Osaka, so they are four generations old.”
Those sauces are now used in Yoshi Shabu Shabu’s menu. But before starting their venture in Plano, the brothers set off with Itoyama to continue their training in Japan.
“It was kind of like the culmination of our training to go to Japan,” Josh said.
The restaurant specializes in the dish shabu shabu. It is a type of Japanese hot pot that involves cooking thinly sliced meats in a pot of boiling broth and vegetables. The name for the dish comes from the sound the meats make when swished in the pot, Josh said.
At Yoshi Shabu Shabu, guests select their choice of meats, which is then served with a plate of vegetables, sauces and a pot of broth on a stove in the middle of each table. Because customers build the meals as they eat, Josh said it is important to provide consistency.
“You dictate your dining experience as long as we give you a very consistent product,” he said.
Josh said some of his Japanese customers have noticed that consistency.
“The reason why we moved here is because of the Toyota headquarters,” Josh said. “We also wanted to stay true to the Japanese culture so they come in [and] their experience is, ‘Wow, this is exactly like it is at home.’”
Yoshi Shabu Shabu
8612 Preston Road, Ste. 115, Plano
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 1-11 p.m. Sun.