Friday, February 08, 2008

Dinner at Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori

We got into LAX and immediately went to our reservation at Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori. This place had been recommended by a co-worker of Giao and we wanted to try it out. The second we walked in we were greeted en masse by the staff, in Japanese, which much fanfare, a greeting that continued throughout the night, as more people arrived. The service was a bit slow and our dishes arrived haphazardly, but most of it was really tasty. It ended up being about $150 total, for 4 people, including 2 bottles of sake. Each individual stick was between about $1 and $4.

Beef Tongue, Beef and Pork Belly
These were all good enough to order twice.

Pork Belly Stuffed with Basil and Shiso
This was probably our favorite morsel of the night. The shiso and basil added a nice herby quality that offset the fatty pork belly.

Asparagus Wrapped Pork Belly
Yum. I think we generally liked anything wrapped in pork belly.

Fried Chicken
We ordered this after we had thought we were done because we saw it at the table next to us and it just looked so good. It was. The meat was tender and juicy, the coating was crisp and the lemon was a really nice, simple accompaniment.

Served with every meal.

Sesame Teriyake Chicken Wings
A bit sweet, but very good.

These were the smallest gyoza we'd ever seen, but they were light and flavorful.

These really just tasted like hot dogs. We were not very impressed.

Fried Tofu
Simple, but good.

Totally overcooked.

Chicken Gizzard, Chicken Heart, and Pork Belly Wrapped Basil
Giao's a sucker for trying any offal he sees, since it's a rare treat.

Chicken Meatballs
Nice and light in texture.

Chicken with Wasabi
We are pretty sure they used real wasabi which really made this stick a treat.

The non-deluxe version of the sausage. Again underwhelming.

Bacon Wrapped Quail Eggs and Chicken Liver
The liver taste was pretty strong even for Giao. Alexis and Giao's Mom really enjoyed the eggs.

Pork Belly Wrapped Mushrooms (Tasty, but not the best bacon wrapped mosel on offer)
Chicken Thighs with Scallions (Ok, but not worth ordering twice.)

Chicken Skin
Really fun and tasty, but it's possible to OD on the fattiness.

Fried Rice Cake with Bonito
The triangle shape maximizes the most sought after fried bits. The pickles offered a great complement.

Hamachi Kama
Standard (but good) rendition.

We weren't aware that chicken had tails before, but Alexis couldn't deal with the crunchiness of the cartilage. Giao as usual, ate it up, but agreed that the texture was a bit distracting.

Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 0

Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori
18617 S Western
Gardena, CA 90247

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