Tag Archives: gardena

Shinsengumi Yakitori: Loudest Restaurant EVER

Michelle and I were out of dinner ideas for eating at home, so we decided to go out to eat. Since we didn’t want to eat too much we decided on Shinsengumi Yakitori, where we could order small bites. For those of you unfamiliar with yakitori, here’s the quick rundown.

Yakitori , grilled chicken, is commonly a Japanese type of skewered chicken. The term “Yakitori” can also refer to skewered food in general. Kushiyaki (skewer grilled), is a formal term that encompasses both poultry and non-poultry items, skewered and grilled. Both Yakitori and Kushiyaki mean the same, so the terms are used interchangeably in Japanese society

They cook over a grill, generally containing hot coals, and the menu items are individual skewers.

Chicken wing. Great crispy skin without all the oil of frying.

Chicken thigh with plum sauce.

Squid in ponzu sauce.

Meatball.

Chicken hearts. Yes, internal organs are on the menu too. In fact it’s some of the best stuff on the menu.

The most unique part of the dining experience aren’t the unique menu items, but it’s the loud ambiance. You eat in fear, never knowing the next time the staff is going to shout. It’s not just that they great and cheers all the customers. They have loud, booming voices and it echoes in the tiny restaurant.

I’ve written about this place before and the consensus was the same. Good food. Loud staff. We haven’t been back until this time because it was so traumatizing for Michelle. I think we just need to wear ear plugs next time.

It’s like a poor man’s Bottega Louie

Walk into Eatalian Cafe, and you’ll feel like you walked into a knockoff of Bottega Louie. It sits in Gardena, pretty much as close as you can get to West Compton in an industrial area, where on one travels through at night. The restaurant is a very large space, formerly a textile factory and like Bottega, it’s white. Very white. There’s even a spot where you can look at dessert pastries and gelato, much like the dessert display at Bottega. Still, while it brings up that familiarity of everyone’s favorite large downtown eatery, I think it stands out okay for itself on the food.

I believe this one was the Penne Capresi.

Four Cheese Gnocchi. This dish doesn’t do much as far as appearance goes. The four cheeses sauce is delicious though.

Gnocchi in meat sauce. While the sauce is good, I feel like the gnocchi is overcooked, making the gnocchi dishes a bit weak.

Tagliatelle al Ragù. This pasta was cooked just the way I like it, having the perfect amount of bite.

Pizza Gitana. Cherry tomatoes, speck, and mushrooms.

Something tells me we should talk as a group before ordering. Another mushroom pizza.

Pizza Prosciutto Crudo. This was nicely salted, a lot lighter than I originally expected. All the pizzas were cooked well, with a nice crisp crust, but this was my favorite pizza.

Here we are enjoying our meal. Less talking. More eating. You can see in the background just how white everything is in the restaurant.

Eatalian is definitely a place I would come back to check out again, as their menu has a variety of items to try. Heck, this place doesn’t even have its liquor license yet. Think about how awesome it will be to enjoy an Italian meal with some wine and beer?

Choon Chun Chicken Kalbi?

After running around and doing some shopping, Michelle and I worked up an early appetite for some Korean food. We stopped into Choon Chun Chicken Kalbi in Gardena.

We arrived pretty early for dinner, so the place was pretty empty. The tables consist of hollow barrels, which house the burners for cooking at the table.

The raw ingredients come out onto the table and the worker tells you, “Don’t touch it.”

Every once in a while she will come by and stir things in a little bit and say, “Not yet.”

If you try to touch the spoons to stir the cooking yourself, she will swoop in out of nowhere and snatch the spoons from your hands, still a little bit, and repeat, “Not yet.”

Now it’s ready. This is a great meal for two.

Once you’ve taken down the original dish the same works comes around and starts round two.

With ninja like quickness she whips some rice, oil, and onions together.

Fried rice!

If you search Choon Chun Kalbi Chicken in Gardena, you won’t find it. I have no idea why, but it must go under a different name. How Michelle found it is beyond me. I do recommend this place, so if you can find it, you won’t be sorry.

Asa Ramen

Asa Ramen is another ramen bar in Gardena that I remember enjoying, but I’ve only been to this joint a couple of times. It’s only open during dinner hours, never for lunch.

Michelle ordered the Asa Ramen. This broth is a little too sweet for me to want to slurp up after I finish the noodles.

I got the special, the Shio Ramen with chashu. This was delicious, and I was scooping up spoonfuls of this broth and slurping it down.

The only down side to Asa Ramen is that the portions are not very big. When I get a bowl of noodles, I like  to hold it up to my face and have it dwarf my head. If the bowls were as large as Hataka Ramen’s bowls or if they had noodle refills for a dollars, I might be more inclined to come back here more often, but that’s probably the fat American in me talking.

Best Pho I Never Had

Michelle’s parents aren’t as adventurous as we are with food, so it surprised me when they picked a Vietnamese place for dinner. When I saw the place it made a little more sense.

This is Pho Consomme in Gardena. It’s big, well lit, clean, and it has televisions in the restaurant. It’s not the typical dirty pho joint that you’re probably used to seeing. From the outside, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the food.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the menu is huge. This is just a portion of the menu. Pho Consomme is not one of your standard pho restaurants. It’s one of those hybrid fusion places that tries to cater to everyone. I was just happy that I wouldn’t be forced to order pho.

Let me first start off by noting that the service here is terrible. I don’t think they’re trying to be rude. I just think the guy they have working is incompetent. Service was slow. Replace him and I would definitely think much more of this place. Although knowing how these Asian joints work, he is probably related to the owners of the place, meaning this place will never live up to its potential.

We ordered spring rolls to start the meal. These were refreshing.

Pork over vermicelli. Again, the fresh looking greens are always a good sign. No wilted lettuce in this place.

Michelle ordered her usual pho to which I give my usual rating of, “It’s okay for a dish that uses dirt as the base for its broth.”

I ordered the shrimp and pork wonton soup. The picture on the menu shows noodles for the non soup version. Mine did not have noodles, which was a little bit disappointing, but it was still delicious. Fish balls, imitation crab meat, and wontons that made me feel like I was eating dim sum in a soup. Delicious.

If it wasn’t for the slow service, I would suggest that everyone check it out. If you’re more patient than I am, there are lots of items on the menu that definitely need exploring. I’d love to see what someone else thinks of this place.