Since I recently posted something on Shunji’s, this post will just be photos and some quick thoughts on the dishes.
Red snapper w/ cherry tomato in seaweed sauce
Similar to the jellyfish amuse from the first visit, a refreshing start to the meal.
Corn chawanmushi, golden squash, celery, yellow carrot, lotus root, okra, radish, haricot vert, kabocha, burdock root, sugar pea, baby abalone liver, baby abalone
Fresh and clean veggies, as is – just like last time. The chawanmushi was served chilled, and had kernels of spring corn, which added a nice sweetness to the smooth custard. The baby abalone and liver were fresh and briny.
Ankimo w/ caviar, fresh radish, pickled radish
One of my favorites from the first meal making a return appearance – the ankimo was just as good this time. And no, Shunji-san still refuses to tell me how he “whipped” it. The radishes served as nice “chasers” to the rich monkfish liver.
Bamboo w/ uni & fava beans in kombu sauce
Shunji-san said that the bamboo was still in season for a few more weeks, so I was fortunate enough to have this dish again. The sauce was actually a little more refined this time – less salty, and the uni added a nice creamy contrast to the crunchy bamboo.
Shirako w/ momoji oroshi & scallions in ponzu, fresh aparagus
Like the ankimo dish, a plate of rich delicacy paired with an opposite veggie to chase with. Shunji-san is very detailed in his plate compositions. The shirako exploded in my mouth (that’s what she said).
Toro tartare w/ uni & caviar
Very Urasawa-esque here (post still forthcoming). A delicious one-biter. The sauce is just soy sauce mixed with fresh wasabi, like the sauce plates of sushi amateurs.
Oyster w/ prosciutto
Judging by the size, this was a hama hama. The prosciutto and truffle salt was a nice touch, though I still prefer the usual mignonette-esque sauce with oysters.
Salmon & kanpachi sashimi
Salmon was nicely cured. The kanpachi w/ miso was just as good as the first time. Notice the arugula flowers here – remember, they’re edible!
Eggplant w/ miso, shiitake mushrooms, rock shrimp, chives
I believe this was Shunji-san’s take on nasu miso – miso-glazed eggplant. Very delicious!
Kinki fish marinated in sake, soy & yuzu
Same dish as the first visit, but the fish was cooked better this time around. Like I said last time, this isn’t very exciting, but well-executed.
Black cod soup w/ vegetable
Just as amazing as the first time I’ve had it. So simple-looking, so deceiving.
Fried karei fish
Basically a karaage of the karei fish (flounder), including the bones fried so you can eat them like chips. The light batter wasn’t too hard, and the fish was just pillowy soft. Yuko-san, the wonderful server who is always so knowledgeable, said that Shunji-san rarely makes this – I’m so honored! By the way, that sauce – I almost drank the whole thing.
crap I forgot what this was – edit: tairagai (thanks PeterCC)
Just a brief summary about the sushi: better than last time. Last time, the fishes available were solid, but rather safe and unexciting. But Shunji-san is making an attempt at buying better fishes (like toro) while keeping the main aspects of his omakase up to his high standards. I still prefer Kiriko though, but a step in the right direction here.
Mascarpone cheese, red bean paste, mint leaf, golden raspberry
After my meal, Shunji-san provided this nice little surprise of a dessert. I think the cheese is mascarpone here. Tasted like a delicious parfait. First time I’ve seen a golden raspberry – tasted very similar to a regular one.
A note about the meal: the $80 omakase no longer includes the sushi portion. You’ll receive 10 or so dishes as part of the basic one, and then Shunji-san will ask if you like to supplement it with addition courses and/or sushi. I think this is a good system, as most people are there to experience Shunji-san’s unique omakase (almost more of a kaiseki nature), and it’s easier for both the customer and himself to manage portions and cost of bill. My sushi portion was around $37 – very reasonable for 7 pieces, and I received 12 dishes for my $80 omakase – a great deal. I’m very glad I made the return trip to Shunji’s. Shunji-san and Yuko-san both remembered me (they even read my blog post!), and were very gracious once again. Shunji Japanese Cuisine, you now have yourself a regular.
And I realized that this ended up being not so short…
Chris Hei grade: A-
Shunji Japanese Cuisine
12244 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064