I've been going to Yakitori Shinsen Gumi for about 8 years and it is definitely one of my favorite restaurants in LA.
It's a very traditional Japanese pub. It's loud, casual, fairly small, has a long wait, has excellent appetizer-sized portions of food, and a friendly wait staff that is always drunk from customers buying them beer.
What to expect:
* Most of the time there is a bit of a wait so get there early and put your name on the list.
* They will yell at you in Japanese when you come in (to greet you), when you buy them beer (as some people do), when they toast you, when you ask for the bill, and when you leave. It will be noisy so don't go there if you have a headache.
* The food is mostly grilled but they also have a kitchen in the back that serves some good small plates. Food from the kitchen always comes out faster than the food from the grill
* You will be given a menu and a pencil to select the skewers you want to eat. Depending on how hungry you are, you can expect to eat from ~10 skewers per person.
* You will get the opportunity to order in 2 rounds. So if you are there with other people, you can order less the first time, and then order more of whatever you liked the second time.
* The skewers are all very good. My favorites are:
- Chicken meat balls and chicken wings
- Anything wrapped in bacon (pork belly), particularly the cherry tomatoes and the shiso basil
- The potato croquette off the main menu is always good but will fill you up
All in all this is a fun place to go to have great food and a drink. You'll likely spend about $30 per person,and you'll leave full, partially deaf, and happy.