Recently, when my mom visited LA, we took her to some of our favorite spots and she liked Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori and Shabu Shabu the best. The restaurant is on the second floor in an outdated Asian mall-like structure on the corner of Atlantic and Garvey in Monterey Park. I remember passing it countless times, always curious but never motivated to step into that building—but I’m glad we finally did.
We ordered some appetizers, small dishes, and a few yakitori skewers. To start, we had the fried sweet potato with butter. The sweet potato was crispy on the outside and had a nice, earthy sweetness. The richness of the butter rounded out the flavors nicely.
Their agedashi doufu had generous toppings of nori, green onions, and katsuobushi. But honestly, have you ever had a bad agedashi doufu? We all know what a good deep fry does. The butano kakuni was one of the better ones I’ve had, but if I was being really critical, it was not as tender as one other place we’ve been to recently. Next came the yaki onigiri. This was one of our favorite dishes, even though it’s so simple. The grilled rice ball was charred and crunchy on the outside and hoka hoka on the inside. Perfect with the side of salty tsukemono.
For yakitori, we had the chicken thigh, tsukune, and bacon wrapped quail egg. All were really good, but what stood out most was the shiso leaf wrapped in pork belly. It’s not the most photogenic—but don’t be fooled. This unassuming skewer perfectly combines the flavor of the juicy pork belly with shiso. The shiso was cooked, so it didn’t have the blast of flavor, like in its raw state. It was more subtle and went perfectly with the pork.
There was a lot of open seating, but near the entrance was a row of seats hidden by a noren, which would be perfect for a small party, in case things get rowdy!
You’ll probably find me there chowing down during their happy hour, when all yakitori is half priced—Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6:00–8:00 pm. Also, I can’t wait to go back and try their shabu shabu.
Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori and Shabu Shabu
111 N. Atlantic Boulevard, #248
Monterey Park, CA 91754