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Oct 12, 2006 10:09 PM

LA Yakitori Recs

After scouring past posts, it seemed like board fave Nanbankan would satisfy my serious yakiniku craving. Then I checked out "the delicious life's" pics: Don't get me wrong, the pics are gorgeous and the food looks delicious...but is that a tablecloth I see? White platters? Sushi?

I'm looking for a place more like Yakitori Taisho on St. Marks Place in NYC, described by New York Magazine as "a cramped, dingy subterranean space lined with tin foil, old calendars, and smoke stains..." oh, and "...the food rocks, too." That place was awesome- the delicious food was well worth the hour-long wait and harried service.

So, is there a great yakiniku place that's cheap, delicious & not at all fancy? Or do I have it wrong about Nanbankan being too fancy-pants for our sensibilities (and budget)? Or do I have it right, but it’s still worth it given the alternatives?

I've tracked down some info for other recs mentioned on the board:

Nanban-kan Restaurant
11330 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Manpuku Tokyo BBQ
2125 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025-6249View Map

1935 Pacific Coast Highway
Lomita CA, 90717
310.326.0829 (in Japanese


11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 101 (on Sawtelle)
Los Angeles, CA 90064

360 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012


PS This title should really read "LA Yakiniku Recs" not "LA Yakitori Recs," since we're looking to chow on more than just chicken. I don't think I can change it now, though!

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  1. Shinsengumi on Western in Gardena blows em all away!

    2 Replies
    1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

      I agree Shen Sen Gumi is out of this world!

      1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

        I've only been to the Fountain Valley location of Shin Sen Gumi and love it there.

      2. Shin-Sen-Gumi Chanko Restaurant
        18519 S. Western Ave
        Gardena, CA 90248

        This place? It looks a chain (10 or so stores, including one in Japan). To be honest, that makes me a little nervous...don't want to end up at Todai (blek). What makes it good?

        1 Reply
        1. re: greenxoai

          It's got a huge yakitori menu on one side of the place, and an old-fashioned chanko restaurant with tatami on the other, where you remove your shoes and sit seiza.

          It's excellent. I really recommend it.

          The one on Brookhurst in Fountain Valley is also split, but it's yakitori on one side and ramen on the other.

          After work (18.30, 19.00, somewhere in there) all the salarymen from Toyota and Nissan, which are adjacent, come streaming in and it's a madhouse.

        2. There are several stores but they all specialize in different things. When we went,there was an hour-and-a-half wait and nobody was going anywhere! The food was much better than any of the downtown places. Trust me, it's no Todai!

          1. For many years I worked at Sakura House in Venice/MDR area of LA (on Washington East of Lincoln). I have tried most of the places on your list and still like Sakura House the best. It is not the same as the Yakitori stalls you will find under the tracks at Shinjuku station in Tokyo. I probably would not get seafood but you are looking for meat so no worries. They have a new chef in the kitchen making side dishes and good appetizers. He was chef at Hama sushi in Venice for years.
            Matsumoto is both the owner and the cook and has been there for 15 + years.

            They have both set dinners and ala carte. I would sit at the bar and go for individaul skewers. They do a pretty good job of pacing the skewers but you could always order a few and then order more. They have a good selection of sake as well. There are a lot of regulars and they get full on Friday and Saturday. About 50% of the customers are Japanese (it was a great place to learn/practice my Japanese) I would make a reservation for the bar. The bar seats 15 and there are about 10 tables. Skewers are one to an order (some restaruants are two to an order) and they range from probably 2.50 to 4.25 per skewer. I haven't even looked a a menu for years even though I go at least once a month.

            Sakura House is mentioned in several other threads and for the most part they are favourable. I would be interested in hearing from others because I am, well not affiliated with Sakura House, I am biased!

            2 Replies
            1. re: goodetime

              Sakura House is one of my favorite restaurants! I've never had a bad meal there and I've been eating there for over 16 years. My favorite item is the tomato-maki skewer. I would also kill for the enoki mushroom-maki.

              1. re: Bon Vivant

                I started working there summer of 2000. Off and on for 5 years. I'm sure we crossed paths. I was the only caucasian waiter.

            2. I love Kokekoko. They only have chicken, so don‘t expect to have beef or anything else. But they make it so great. If you're into eating the "internals" like heart, gizzard, liver, etc., you'll like this place. They have chicken everything. But even if you're not, they have wings, breast, thigh, and some other "safer" choices. :)