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Restaurants & Bars

Shin-Sen-Gumi - a new take!

Carolyn Tillie | Nov 4, 200110:09 PM     9

While I was working in the Torrance/Gardena area, I ate at the Yakitori-version of Shin-Sen-Gumi almost once a week for lunch (per a separate post from R.Foss, there are three different Shin-Sen-Gumi; one yakitori, one a noodle house, and one a take-out deli). I brought all my friends there. For lunch, they offer two different chicken skewers in a variety of lunch combinations. There were also daily specials like pork cutlet, omelets, and tempura (fabulous!). My personal favorite was called Takana Rice where, along with my chicken meatball and roasted chicken skewer, I got a bowl of rice with various green bits in it (I never did figure out what it was - possibly seaweed). It also came with a bowl of miso, a large piece of fried tofu topped with scallions, bonito flakes, ginger, and a light sauce, and a variety of pickles.

Well, driving home from downtown after my first week of work at the Music Center, I was missing my old haunts and thought I would stop in for dinner and eat my beloved Takana Rice. What beheld my eyes! An entirely different restaurant! I had no idea that a REAL Yakitori restaurant as more akin to a Sushi bar, with a wide array of raw meats, pre-skewered, waiting only for me to decide which gets grilled first. Delightfully, when I walked in to my known former haunt, I was greeted with a loud, vocal greeting, unintelligible to my non-Japanese-knowing ears.

Along with a menu of offerings, I was given a large bowl of marinated cabbage. A huge selection to choose from, I opted for duck, shrimp, chicken livers, flat meat (beef), shiitake mushrooms, and enoki mushrooms. The duck actually did not get served on a skewer, but on a small plate with marinated asparagus and sliced mushrooms. The enoki mushroms were actually wrapped in bacon. When I tipped my sake cup in cheers to the cooks behind the counter, all bowed to me and smiled and hollard another unintelligible greeting. I was thrilled. Because of the large selection, I had to force myself to not order more food until another time. I was intrigued by the list which (if memory serves), included some intestines and skin from a variety of animals (I can't remember if it was pig skin and chicken intestines or vice/versa...)

Anyway, while I miss my favorite lunch place, I am thrilled with this haunt for dinner! It is located in the Western Plaza, (18000 block of Western?).

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