Saturday, March 31, 2012

One Night in Tokyo at Shin-Sen-Gumi (Gardena)

In 1988, founder Mitsuyasu Shigeta came to Los Angeles to study English. Four years later, he opened the first Shin-Sen-Gumi in Gardena, serving yakitori—various chicken parts (gizzards, skin, wings, breast, thighs) skewered on bamboo sticks, grilled over charcoal. When you enter the tiny restaurant, located in a generic strip mall, you'll be greeted by a boisterous wait staff. Pretty much any movement warranted loud cheers—when you place your order, when you ask for your bill, when you leave the restaurant, and especially when you buy the chef and server a round of drinks.

The man behind the grill was extremely amiable and, at one point, even came over to ask if we enjoyed our meal.

The course-ground sausages were Kevin's favorite. Bite into it and the delicious juices squirt out.

These cocktail-sized sausages were good, too, but we preferred the course-ground sausages.

Fried soft-shell crab was one of the specials. It was crisp and glazed with a sweet orange sauce.

I love chicken gizzards. Chewy, grilled perfectly, with a sprinkling of sea salt.

This is the yakitori most people are familiar with: grilled chicken thighs with a sweet yakitori sauce. The smaller skewer in the back is chicken skin. I love the fact that the Japanese value and showcase every part of the chicken.

Grilled jumbo prawn.


This was a funny little dish. Potato with mayo: so simple and yummy, though I can probably make this at home.

Onigiri, the original comfort food.

Crab and cream croquettes.

Beef flap meat.

My favorite of the night was the beef tongue. It was so tender and flavorful.

The fried chicken wings tasted like orange chicken from American-Chinese restaurants.

Chicken breast with fresh wasabi. I don't usually care for breasts, but this was moist and the wasabi went surprisingly well with it.

Each skewer was about $1.75–$3. Total tally was around $66 (including an additional order of sausages and meatballs). Pretty reasonable prices.

In addition to nine locations in Fountain Valley, Gardena, Monterey Park, and Rosemead, there’s also a branch in Japan.

18517 S. Western Avenue
Gardena, CA 90248
(310) 715-1588

1 comment:

Elaine Quek said...

Hey babe! I'm nominating you as one of my favourite blogs on Food Stories Award!