Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori (Gardena, CA)

wpid-20150828_220421_hdr.jpg

The first thing you will notice about Shin-Sen-Gumi is how freaking loud it is. A cacophony of loud Japanese, drunken patrons, and the slight crackle of the grill provide an atmosphere that’s uniquely it’s own. It’s almost so loud you can barely hear yourself talk. Shin-Sen-Gumi has various locations and each serve different types of Japanese food (ramen, yakitori, shabu-shabu). This particular location featured yakitori, The wait time on a Saturday at 9:00pm was around 30-40 minutes.  Parking lot is large but can filled when it’s busy.  Definitely avoid weekends or prime dining hours, as they don’t flip tables fast here.

You order your food on a piece of paper similar to a sushi bar. It comes out on tiny skewers containing 3-5 pieces of grilled protein. The flavors were excellent throughout, the grilled Kobe style beef and pork belly were the real winners. Although it was $wpid-20150828_220808_hdr.jpg10 for two tiny kobe skewers, it was well worth the delicious juiciness. Bill usually ends up around $60-$70 for two people without drinks.  It can get pretty expensive for anyone with a monster appetite.

18517 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 715-1588

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

4stars1

Gyu Kaku (Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, CA)

wpid-20150819_173733_hdr-1.jpg

Gyu Kaku has the best happy hour on the block.  This Japanese yakiniku chain is all over Los Angeles and they all provide the same quality at all the locations. Every table is provided with a grill that you will cook on yourself. The specials, however, vary from each location so make sure to check your local specials. Having a shitty Monday? Or just hate Mondays? Solution: Happy hour all day at Gyu Kaku. $2 draft Sapporo in a frosty glass mug, specials on just about everything, and legit food.

On this trip, my buddy and myself ordered the garlic fried chicken, yaki-shabu, pork belly, and pork sausage.  My favorites being the pork belly and sausage.  The pork belly is marinated perfectly and doesn’t come out as a piece of frozen meat. Legit spot for groups to drink as well, plenty of sweet fufu drinks to straight sake. Unfortunately, when it’s not happy hour, they’re just mediocre.  Expect to spend $20-30 per person.

163 N La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 659-5760

4stars1

Kanda Sushi (Thousand Oaks, CA)

wpid-img_20150819_120912.jpg

Kanda Sushi in Thousand Oaks provides authentic Japanese sushi but at a cost. Upon entering, you will notice the cleanliness and feng shui design.  The sushi bar seats 10-12 people, which is the preferred way to roll for any sushi pros.

wpid-20150819_120649_hdr.jpg
Uni ($10)

I ended up ordering the lunch special Kushiage for $11 and an order of uni for $10. The kushiage combo included miso soup, 6 piece California rolls and 2 BBQ chicken sticks. The California roll was nothing special (given) and the bbq sticks were decent but lacked flavor a regular yakitori stick would have. The uni was good, but they definitely skimped out on the urchin. After spending around $30 for lunch, I felt a little satisfied but wanted a bit more.  The quality and selection is there, but the price is about the same as high end sushi restaurants in DTLA that do everything better.

3637 E Thousand Oaks Blvd
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
(805) 230-0101

3-star

Cali Comfort BBQ (San Diego, CA)

wpid-wp-1438625897013.jpg
BBQ combo; tritip, 1/2 rack pork ribs, cornbread, beans, and fries. ($20.99)

Since Phil’s BBQ is already so well reviewed I decided to hit up Cali Comfort BBQ for some ribs and fights. UFC 190 was going down and I felt like having some USA chants while destroying some ribs with my bare hands like a savage. They charge a $5 cover for the fights and the crowd seems a bit more sketchy than I’m used to but I had no problems.

Parking was insane because of UFC 190, but the staff got us a spot in no time. The tritip was beautiful.  Smokey, juicy, delicious, and tender.  Everything a smoked tritip should be.  The ribs, however, were a bit disappointing. It fell off the bone nicely and was not dry, but the BBQ sauce was lacking and the flavor didn’t amaze.  For the value, you get a lot of food and a good atmosphere to enjoy with friends.  Although, it’s not the best BBQ in the city.  3.5/5

8910 Troy St
San Diego, CA 91977
(619) 337-0670

4stars1

Tita’s Kitchenette (San Diego, CA)

wpid-wp-1438536298578.jpg
BBQ chicken, pancit, and rice combo. ($7.50)

Talk about bang for your buck.  On a recent trip to San Diego, a buddy of mine recommended Tita’s for some legit Filipino food.  Upon arriving, it seems like your typical turo-turo style restaurant, nothing fancy or visually stimulating. However, it became the game changer once I took my first bite.  The BBQ chicken and pork here is absolutely phenomenal.  It’s lathered in the delicious marinate, skewered, grilled, and charred to perfection. Easily some of the best BBQ you can get around. I’ll be daydreaming about these BBQ sticks when I’m back home in LA. Their pork adobo was also an absolute winner. The perfect tenderness of the pork and the ubiquitous adobo sauce slathered over white rice is something special.  Amazing flavors for even the uninitiated.

wpid-wp-1438625059419.jpg
Pork adobo combo ($6.50)

For $7.50 you get a 2 item combo, and at most places that’s usually enough for myself.  At Tita’s, a 2 item combo is enough for 2 people and you’ll have left overs. In other words, they hook it up FAT.  I ended up coming back here the next day for food for the trip back. They also cater for big parties and even do the whole roast pig.  Definitely check out Tita’s for some cheap delicious food that will hit you right in the dick.  And no, they aren’t family of some kind. wpid-wp-1438536303346.jpg

2720 E Plaza Blvd
National City, CA 91950
(619) 434-3879

4stars1