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Gardena

Gardena: Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori

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The Skinny: The popular and always busy, Shin-Sen-Gumi’s Yakitori is in Gardena.   It’s one of those dining experience where everyone is shouting as you enter, have your first drink of beer, and after you paid your bill.  The place is as Japanese as it gets and it would be my 3rd trip there.  This time I ordered the Pork Belly, Pig Intestines and Knuckles, little sausages, Asparagus wrapped in Bacon and the Tail End, Wing, Heart and Breast of a Chicken.  Since I went with mi Madre, she was craving Duck, so we got that as well.

The High: For some reason, I love the promo videos (watch it here) they have playing at every location and the enduring quality of them.  The music playing let’s me know that I’m in for something good and it kind of makes me feel like I’m slightly buzzed on the strip of Las Vegas.   I bet drinking games can be made with how often the staff members look off to the side to read their lines.

Anyways, my favorite item at Shin-Sen-Gumi is the Pig Intestine.  It comes out crispy like Bacon, slightly fatty on the inside, and sweet because of the Teriyaki sauce used to coat it . Also, the tail end of the Chicken was succulent and the hearts were tenderly tasty.

The Low: The sliced Duck Breast was served cold and it was forgettable.  Mi Madre was slightly disappointed because she wanted the rendered kind of fatty Duck you get at a Chinese restaurant.

The Pork Belly is usually good, but that time, it was thinly cut and it wasn’t as juicy as the other times I had it.

Would I come back again? Yes!  I actually left my lucky hat there and they kept it safe for me.

More Info: Shin-Sen-Gum | 8517 S. Western Avenue. Gardena, CA 90248 | Phone: (310) 715-1588 | NOT CHEAP!

MJ

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Gardena: Shin-Sen-Gumi’s Hakata Ramen

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The Skinny: Shin-Sen-Gumi is a brand name associated with a chain of high quality Ramen, Shabu Shabu, Sushi, and Yakitori restaurants in both Japan and the USA.  Hakata is a popular hot spot in Gardena that usually has a long waiting list.  The Ramen shop allows customers to customize their order by letting them use a sushi-like check-list where they can dictate how al dente the noodles will be and the strength of the broth.  You can also get combo meals by adding chicken fried rice, gyoza, and other stuff.  And if you’re still hungry after killing a bowl, you can order more noodles and broth without having to wait

I’m not sure I should even bother reviewing the place because many people have already done so and we all pretty much like the place.  Anyways….

The High: One of two things I enjoy doing while waiting at a Shin-Sen-Gumi spot, in this case Hakata Ramen, is to watch the awkward but endearing promo videos of the staff members acting out skits.  When I’m with friends, I always play the “where’s the cue card the poor employee is reading from?”  Since there’s always a wait, the 2nd thing I enjoy doing is putting a name on the sign-up sheet that doesn’t fit me at all.  One time it was “Tyrone” and the last time it was “Jethro” to represent the redneck that is in me.

As for the Ramen itself, I’m personally a fan of the kind that has a clear broth, but the stuff at Hakata is solid regardless.  If you like that thick porky broth with those melt-in-your-mouth char-siu cuts, you’ll love the stuff at Hakata.  I can’t say that I’m a dedicated fan of the stuff, but I certainly didn’t hate it.  Their chicken fried rice is as tasty as chicken fried rice gets as well.

The Low: My only complaint about Hakata is that their broth is sometimes inconsistent and the style of their noodles are little too thin for my liking.  But other than that, it’s all good.

Would you come back again? Sure, why not!  They serve beer!

More info: www.shinsengumiusa.com | 2015 W Redondo Beach Blvd. Gardena, CA 90247 | Credit Friendly | Expect to spend around 10 bucks per person

– MJ