Shabusen is a nice mix of japanese and korean BBQ. Once you've been there you will either love or hate it - there doesn't seem to be an in-between. Some, like myself both love AND hate it - I love the value and I hate how I feel afterwards: BLOATED. If you're a proud meat-eater you owe it to yourself to go here at least once. If you're a salad-nibbler, get far, far away. Vegetarians will swear they can hear the tortured, disembodied cries of various animals being slaughtered in the back, though it may just be starvation talking - there isn't a whole lot on the menu for them.
Everything I describe applies to the lunch menu, as that's when I normally go. For dinner, I don't think it offers as much of a value as I find the selection of Japanese items to be poor considering the price. Lunch is only $13. Dinner is $10 more. $1 extra on the weekend if I recall.
The ambience is kinda cool - for larger groups there are boat-shaped tables that you can scoot into. For smaller groups (3-4), it can suck because sometimes they will stick you with another group on a larger table - it's especially crappy if they put you on the inside. As it is a BBQ joint expect plenty of smoke. Also, it would probably be good if one person in your group can actually grill with some proficiency.
Service is average. It can be slow at times and they will forget to bring items on occasion. During a typical outing you will end up re-ordering things a couple of times. Ordering is done on little sheets of paper to avoid confusion. It's also very convenient for the servers. Note that if you put down 1 on the order sheet you will literally get 1 piece of said item.
The food to be honest, is nothing spectacular. It's of good/average quality but there isn't anything on the menu you should avoid, sushi-wise. I usually start off with miso (which is sometimes a bit too salty, like most places, but that's what green tea is for) and have two or three servings sunomono and gomae throughout the meal to cleanse my tongue of all the meat.
For lunch, the only sashimi available is tuna, but it's not too bad. It sometimes is served too cold, but rarely. The usual sushi suspects can be found on the rather limited lunch menu - basic rolls, cones, teriyaki, tempura, and tofu. I usually get plenty of salmon nigiri sushi because I love salmon, and I keep the rice to go with the BBQ meat.
The BBQ adds an element of fun to the meal. There's nothing like ribbing your friend about that blackened piece of chicken you can't seem to get off the grill. You have three choices for meat on the lunch menu: beef, chicken and pork. The chicken is always good but the beef is hit and miss - sometimes you will get a lean batch which ends up being a bit tough. The pork is to be avoided in my opinion - it is always too lean. You'll be picking it out of your teeth for days.
1. Give the meat some time on the grill before flipping/moving it. If you pull it too early, it will stick.
2. The heat may not be even so rotate the grill often and move the meat from the center to the outside and vice versa.
3. Scrape off the chunks of meat stuck to the grill as best you can between sessions. If there's too much, don't be shy to ask a server to replace it with a new one.
4. Don't be afraid to turn the heat down if it's too hot for you to handle. A slow roast can be just as good as a fast sear.
5. Soak some tuna in soy or the dipping sauce and put it on the grill briefly. That's right, make your own seared, rare tuna - why not?
Overall the food is good, not great, and the service is okay, but you can't beat the pure AYCE value. $13-$14 won't buy you this amount/quality of food anywhere else in the city.