Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Irashaimase! (Shin-Sen-Gumi, Monterey Park)

Irashaimase (Welcome)! Unlike other Japanese restaurants, Shin-Sen-Gumi takes welcoming patrons to another level. I was startled the first time I ever went to a Shin-Sen-Gumi restaurant. This particular branch in Monterey Park is no different, in fact, I think it's even more deafening than the other branches. Other Japanese restaurants will welcome a patron with the typical irashaimase, but what separates Shin-Sen-Gumi, is that they even bring out the taiko drum and start banging it. The first time I ate here I felt awkward as we were walking to our table. The attention was almost embarrassing and conversations were hard to maintain as the noise level was at a premium. Besides the boisterous atmosphere, the staff was very courteous and polite. At this particular branch of the Shin-Sen-Gumi chain serves Shabu-Shabu and Yakitori. Shabu-Shabu which is a Japanese version of a hot pot in which thinly sliced meat and vegetables are cooked in a dashi (Japanese broth) and served with dipping sauces. Yakitori on the other hand is typically different parts of chicken on skewers cooked over some type of charcoal. The term yakitori can be broken down into two parts: Yaki (grill) and Tori (Chicken/Bird). Although the term yakitori literally refers to grilled chicken skewers, other types of meat and vegetables can loosely be referred to yakitori as well. Luckily for me this restaurant serves both which happen to be some of my favorite types of food. I could kill two birds with one stone. I would have to say that the shabu-shabu here is pretty good. The beef and pork is beautifully marbled and really scrumptious. My one gripe with Shin-Sen-Gumi in Monterey Park is that the rice is absolutely Terrible! The rice is dry and hard, but I still ate it :) I love rice too much to pass it up. Personally, I still prefer to eat shabu-shabu at Shabu-Shabu House in Little Tokyo. I just hate waiting that long just to eat something that I could eat at home. Also dinner here is a bit pricey for shabu-shabu although its cheaper than Kagaya in Little Tokyo. The yakitori here is pretty decent as well. My favorite skewers are the kawa (chicken skin) and the bara (pork belly). They are super delicious. The chicken skin is perfectly cooked to a crisp and drizzled with teriyaki type sauce. The pork belly is perfectly seasoned and the taste of the charcoal really comes through. These are definitely two items not to be missed.

Shin-Sen-Gumi (Monterey Park)
111 N. Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA. 91754

1 comment:

jiin said...

thanks for the heads up on their welcoming routine! i plan on visiting that branch soon.