Shin Sen Gumi’s newest location opened in Monterey Park a few months ago, and it is fantastic. It’s a shabu shabu and yakitori restaurant, similar to one of the Gardena locations.
Decor – Modern Japanese. Simple. Elegant. Most of the tables are along the windows, and there’s plenty of counter seating. There are a few inset tables behind curtains for privacy. There’s special private dining area that’s more traditional Japanese (you
sit on the floor) and is available by reservation only. That room has
a 6 person/$250 minimum.
Food – The yakitori is excellent. In addition to usual chicken, meatball and sausage, the menu also has heart, liver and beef tongue. YUM. The shabu shabu is good but not really special, though the ponzu sauce is really tasty. The appetizers are great.
Service – Attentive. Friendly. And fun. Just like the other Shin Sen Gumi locations, the waiters shout in unison in Japanese to greet you, to thank you when you leave and when you ask for your check. I have no idea what they’re saying.
When we received our first order of grilled beef tongue, our waiter showed us how to make a traditional accompanying sauce — Yuzu kosho (a mildly spicy chili paste) and ponzu (citrus-seasoned vinegar).
Try – Order as many types of yakitori as you can. They cost about $2 to $3 an order, and they’re easy to share. Also, try the creamy crab croquette. It’s unlike any other croquette I’ve had before.