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We love Sushi Jun -- W 50th (longish)

k
kiworan79 Dec 21, 2006 09:54 PM

The title says it all. We love Sushi Jun. My SO and I moved to Hell's Kitchen back in September, and have since been on the seemingly endless quest for good neighborhood sushi. Needless to say, our search is over. Sushi Jun is a tiny little place on W. 50th, between 8th and 9th, but really, right on the corner of 8th. We would never have even known that it was there, but after reading a review two weeks ago from a fellow hound, made our way there this afternoon for lunch. We arrived around 1:30, at which time there was only one other table eating.

We sat at the sushi bar and quickly ordered some cold sake. I had a bottle of special junmai -- which was recommended by the waitress, and was super yummy. It was creamy (tasting, not as in unfiltered), and a perfect pairing with what was to come. The older sushi chef, who we would later learn was Chef Jun, the proprietor (this is his 1st restaurant, although I got the impression that he has worked elsewhere in Manhattan), whipped us up an amuse bouche of sorts, it was a little pickled salad of seaweed, radish, scallop, pickles, and another fish that I couldn't identify. Then he made us each a green salad -- your classic japanese salad with a ginger dressing, but both the quality and flavor of the dressing and a purple peruvian potato on top set the salad apart. The younger sushi chef then suggested a number of different fish -- we had toro, spanish mackeral, yellowtail, regular tuna, uni, marinated mackeral (different, but real good -- reminiscent of whitefish), and monkfish pate. I swear that the sushi was the BEST I have had in a LONG time -- and I am definitely a sushi snob. The chef knows how to cut his fish, and they must have a great monger, because the fish was super fresh. The toro literally melted in my mouth.

I HIGHLY recommend this place. Super fresh ingredients, loving preparation, and relatively inexpensive.

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  1. eatfood RE: kiworan79 Dec 21, 2006 11:10 PM

    kiworan79, thanks for your review!

    How much did your bill come out to be? The first time I went there, there seemed to be only 1 sushi chef working, I assumed he's Chef Jun (he looked a little old).

    The toro I had was melt in my mouth also. Excellent.

    1 Reply
    1. re: eatfood
      k
      kiworan79 RE: eatfood Dec 21, 2006 11:27 PM

      For two, with four pieces of toro, an app, a bottle of sake, a kirin and about 12 other pieces of sushi, it came out to around 90. I know that is kinda steep for lunch, but we really went to town, and for what we had (quality and quantity) I think it was more than fair.

      So glad u had a similar experience!

    2. CTownFeedR RE: kiworan79 Dec 22, 2006 01:15 PM

      Thanks for the heads up about this place. Out of curiosity, have you tried Shimizu on 51st (my personal fav in the hood)? If so, how would you compare the quality?

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        dbird RE: kiworan79 Dec 23, 2006 06:36 AM

        is Sushi Jun Korean?

        1 Reply
        1. re: dbird
          eatfood RE: dbird Jan 8, 2007 04:32 PM

          I don't think so, it seemed very Japanese to me.

        2. k
          kerokaeru RE: kiworan79 Jul 28, 2007 12:06 PM

          I went to Sushi Jun last night with great expectations, but I was disappointed. I got the $35 omakase and the fish was subpar and tasteless. There was a non-Japanese young man preparing the sushi and an older man who did the side dishes and my dining partner's teriyaki beef. A sushi restaurant should only serve sushi in my opinion, and the miso soup was served with a ramen spoon, which never happens in Japan. The dessert of mochi ice cream was taken out of boxes of the stuff that is sold in Trader Joe's, the green tea flavour of which is artificial and was unpalatable. On the other hand, I liked the intimate atmosphere of the place but the food would have to be much better to warrant another visit. Maybe the ownership/chef has changed recently but I did not find it a chowhound-worthy establishment. Has anyone else been recently?

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            Butter Buddha RE: kiworan79 Mar 17, 2008 12:19 PM

            We had omakase at Sushi Jun last Wed evening. They offer three levels of omakase: $65, $50, and $35, and we opted for the $50 level but requested sushi only. I'm not sure this is an official option as, based on the regular menu, I assume their omakase is typically a mix of dishes including a sushi course, but they accommodated us without a problem. The chef proceeded to individually serve us 13 pieces of sushi consisting of:
            1. horse mackerel
            2. giant clam
            3. scallop w/ flying fish roe
            4. medium fatty toro
            5. yellowtail
            6. salmon roe and sea urchin
            7. monkfish liver
            8. squid and sea urchin w/ quail egg
            9. fresh oyster
            10. eel avocado hand roll
            11. fluke w/ shiso leaf
            12. salmon, ikura w/ quail egg
            13. omelette

            Every piece was excellent; fresh and generously sized, with warm rice that almost melted in our mouths. The seaweed was crisp on pieces that had it. We went to Shimizu for Valentine's Day and although Shimizu trumps Sushi Jun on fish variety, the quality and freshness are on par, and Sushi Jun is absolutely a better value. Over five dinners here since December, we've sampled a variety of dishes and every one has been very good to excellent. The staff is always polite and efficient, and the only person I've ever seen behind the bar preparing sushi is an older gentlemen and he's Japanese.

             
             
             
            2 Replies
            1. re: Butter Buddha
              foodie4life RE: Butter Buddha Mar 17, 2008 01:49 PM

              I went to sushi Jun last Friday after reading the rave review on NYCNosh. I really liked it a lot. I agree the sushi quality is sublime. Everything there is a step better than regular sushi spots though I do wish the menu was larger and more varied. I had the sushi deluxe and I'd love to return again for the omakase, though the claustrophobic nature of the place might deter me.

              1. re: Butter Buddha
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                emgoodman RE: Butter Buddha Mar 17, 2008 02:31 PM

                Thanks for the detailed review. I also love Sushi Jun; not only for the fish, but the service is so friendly! You're right on with your compliment of the temperature of their rice. It's perfect and really makes a great difference. I'm excited to try their omakase.

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                hotpotnyc RE: kiworan79 Dec 18, 2008 12:00 PM

                Walked by the restaurant last night (12/17/08), it looks like the restaurant has changed owners.

                7 Replies
                1. re: hotpotnyc
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                  david sprague RE: hotpotnyc Dec 18, 2008 01:25 PM

                  how can you tell? an "under new mgmt" sign? not sarcasm, just wondering.

                  1. re: david sprague
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                    hotpotnyc RE: david sprague Dec 29, 2008 03:42 PM

                    It's now called Ichi Masa

                    1. re: hotpotnyc
                      d
                      david sprague RE: hotpotnyc Dec 29, 2008 04:34 PM

                      any report on downhill or uphill (or neither) movement?

                      1. re: david sprague
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                        Butter Buddha RE: david sprague Dec 30, 2008 08:11 AM

                        can anyone confirm if it's still the original old guy behind the counter?

                        1. re: Butter Buddha
                          h
                          hotpotnyc RE: Butter Buddha Jan 5, 2009 11:15 AM

                          No, different guys now.

                        2. re: david sprague
                          h
                          hotpotnyc RE: david sprague Jan 5, 2009 11:49 AM

                          Overall... I would say neither, the styles are different (expected, since different chefs). I tried the chirashi dish, and would say I liked the Sushi Jun version a little bit better (a little bit more stuff and better presentation wise). However, my wife got the sushi deluxe, and that dish looked pretty good. I'll probably get that dish the next time. So we will definitely go back to try out other dishes.

                          1. re: hotpotnyc
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                            cottoncandie07 RE: hotpotnyc Jan 12, 2009 06:38 AM

                            i loved Sushi Jun and to my dismay, discovred a few days ago that there has been a change in ownership. the sushi chef is not the same and the philosophy is different as well. the new management seems to have 'americanized' the menu a bit with various sushi combos and teriyaki dishes. sushi jun was great for its hole-in-the wall feeling which made me feel like i might be in a sushi shop in tokyo somewhere; now it feels like every other sushi place in midtown. to be fair i will say that i have not tried their food yet and this is just based on my reading of the menu and the ambience. does anyone know what happened to mr jun? (i.e. is sushi jun gone forever or is there hope of a relocation to another part of town? )

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                    emgoodman RE: kiworan79 Dec 18, 2008 01:49 PM

                    I have also had great experiences at Sushi Jun. The fish is always very fresh. Also, the waitstaff (including the main man at the sushi counter) always seem so appreciative to have you in their restaurant. I highly recommend as a solid neighborhood spot, although I wouldnt necessarily say it's a destination spot. The sushi combo platters, I find, are the best bang for your buck.

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