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Shunji's --- now reviewed by the LA Times ...

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kevin Aug 11, 2012 08:56 AM

I guess that's a good and bad thing.

I have to say the tomato dish was exceptional and the ankimo mousse and bleu cheese call great as always. And he even makes chocolate mousse for dessert now.

Enjoy before it gets too busy.

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  1. x
    xoxohh RE: kevin Aug 11, 2012 09:30 AM

    I was there Thursday night. The tomato dish as well as the squid with black ink and truffle were some of the best dishes that I have ever had anywhere!

    1. t
      thebigjelly RE: kevin Aug 11, 2012 10:05 AM

      At $80 to $200 a meal is it really going to get too busy?

      15 Replies
      1. re: thebigjelly
        k
        kevin RE: thebigjelly Aug 11, 2012 10:48 PM

        yes, it's a tiny place and isn't most restaurants that are great, and or highly praised and also very expensive packed to the gills every night.

        See Spago, Osteria Mozza, Valentino, etc.

        1. re: kevin
          t
          thebigjelly RE: kevin Aug 12, 2012 09:56 AM

          That's true but I would bet most of the people that eat at Valentino, Spago and Mozza couldn't care less about sushi, especially sushi at a restaurant that is in an ugly building in a not so great location and has the bathroom outside in a metalworking facility. Recently J.L. posted pictures of his dinner at Shunji and said it was $185 PP before tax and tip, that translates roughly to $250 per person. For my money I'd go to Spago, Valentino, or Osteria Mozza. Just my opinion.

          1. re: thebigjelly
            Porthos RE: thebigjelly Aug 12, 2012 10:13 AM

            I don't know why you'd just assume that those who eat at Valentino, Spago, and O. Mozza couldn't care less about sushi. Why do you think those places usually have raw/crudo fish dishes as appetizers in the first place? Maybe because a lot of people who eat at Valentino, Spago, O.Mozza do like raw fish?

            The JLomakase is usually 1.4-2x more food and more expensive than the standard omakase. A typical tab at Shunji is probably half.

            Shunji along with Red Medicine is serving some of the most exciting cuisine in LA right now.

            Just my opinion.

            1. re: Porthos
              Ciao Bob RE: Porthos Aug 12, 2012 11:00 AM

              What do you mean "just my opinion," Porthos?
              It's mine too :)

              1. re: Porthos
                k
                kevin RE: Porthos Aug 12, 2012 11:21 AM

                Me three, on the Shunji note. I have think he is serving the best food in a sit-down restaurant in LA right now, and not just for Japanese food.

                Also, I think for my money he is head and shoulders above Kiriko too.

                1. re: Porthos
                  k
                  kevin RE: Porthos Aug 12, 2012 11:21 AM

                  Btw, I'm curious if Shunji's makes a tamago and if the tamago is the sponge-cake like kind ???

                  Anyone happen to know ?

                  In addition, Shunji is also a great pastry chef too.

                  1. re: kevin
                    PeterCC RE: kevin Aug 12, 2012 11:39 AM

                    I've seen tamago in his case but I have not ordered it.

                  2. re: Porthos
                    t
                    thebigjelly RE: Porthos Aug 12, 2012 11:33 AM

                    Didn't Shunji close his restaurant on Melrose due to the lack of customers? Same food,same guy. And I didn't say all of the customers at Spago etc. don't like sushi, the point I made was that most of the people that eat there would rather spend their money at a place like Spago, Valentino, or Mozza. The article in the LA Times said the omakase was $80 to $120 and up. Add tax and tip and, well, you already know.

                    1. re: thebigjelly
                      wienermobile RE: thebigjelly Aug 12, 2012 11:35 AM

                      Kindly disagree.

                      1. re: thebigjelly
                        PeterCC RE: thebigjelly Aug 12, 2012 11:39 AM

                        I believe it was a disagreement with his partner at Shunji's on Melrose (now 7015 Melrose). I've heard that his sous chefs have left one by one after his departure, for what that's worth.

                    2. re: thebigjelly
                      k
                      kevin RE: thebigjelly Aug 12, 2012 11:25 AM

                      yeah, i'd bet that the people going to Valentino, Spago, and others that are there for the food and not the scene would like to visit a great sushi/creative japanese restaurant.

                      my big pet peeve though with shunji and the key to the bathroom. it doesn't work for the place. but that building is simply beautiful on the inside and it's not too shabby on the outside either. the atmosphere on the inside is serene, minimalist perfection.

                      and you can get out of there for way less than $200 buckaroos and still feel well fed and well satisfied. the hound that spent 185 bucks on dishes alone is not representative of the average or rather usual meal there.

                      but yes at the same time, you won't be spending 40 to 50 dollars per person there, it just wouldn't work at that end of the scale.

                      1. re: kevin
                        Servorg RE: kevin Aug 12, 2012 11:59 AM

                        Maybe Shunji should add a small bowl of chile to his line up as an "homage" to the original tenant of his building? Now that would be both interesting and humorous...(and I'd be interested in what his "take" on that particular dish might be like).

                        1. re: Servorg
                          k
                          kevin RE: Servorg Aug 12, 2012 01:54 PM

                          i would to and i have a feeling he would be able to easily pull it off, and it would be probably one of his most famed dishes if he chooses to add that to the menu too.

                          1. re: Servorg
                            PeterCC RE: Servorg Aug 12, 2012 03:06 PM

                            I could see him do a mapo tofu chili, Japanese style...

                            1. re: PeterCC
                              Servorg RE: PeterCC Aug 12, 2012 03:09 PM

                              Perhaps it could be done as his "signature" amuse?

                  3. r
                    RicRios RE: kevin Aug 11, 2012 10:42 AM

                    Weird. The article is posted online, dated 8/11/2012.
                    http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...
                    However, it doesn't appear in the printed edition with same date I have in my hands right now.
                    Oh well, I assume hard copy readers are now considered second class.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: RicRios
                      k
                      kevin RE: RicRios Aug 11, 2012 03:57 PM

                      yeah, i noticed that too. and his reviews are not just usually but only in the print edition on saturday's which is the restaurant/food days. it may not have made it to press at the time but still...

                      does that mean they will put it in print next Saturday ???

                    2. J.L. RE: kevin Aug 11, 2012 10:59 AM

                      J.Gold is trailing us Chowhounds. We' re making it too easy for him! :-)

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: J.L.
                        b
                        bulavinaka RE: J.L. Aug 11, 2012 11:40 AM

                        Being an alumnus from many years past, I think he is still one of us at heart...

                        1. re: bulavinaka
                          k
                          kevin RE: bulavinaka Aug 11, 2012 03:58 PM

                          he did mention in interviews i believe that he follows chowhound avidly as well as for instance chinese-language newspapers to gain tips on new restaurants.

                          1. re: bulavinaka
                            westsidegal RE: bulavinaka Aug 11, 2012 04:01 PM

                            looks like he is now still using the board for source material.
                            why should he contribute to the board when he can process and sell the information instead?

                            1. re: westsidegal
                              l
                              linus RE: westsidegal Aug 12, 2012 09:01 AM

                              certainly chowhound is a great source for finding those saucers of milk...

                              1. re: linus
                                Servorg RE: linus Aug 12, 2012 09:04 AM

                                Flying saucers of milk the way the cats around here jump on things...

                                1. re: Servorg
                                  k
                                  kevin RE: Servorg Aug 12, 2012 09:15 AM

                                  saucers of milk ???

                          2. re: J.L.
                            k
                            kevin RE: J.L. Aug 11, 2012 03:59 PM

                            have you tried the chocolate mousse yet too ???

                            damn, good.

                            i wish he'd open up a tiny storefront too, or kiosk, and dole out those bleu cheese marbles by the dozen.

                          3. PeterCC RE: kevin Aug 11, 2012 06:24 PM

                            If he gets busy enough, maybe he can hire more help and open for lunch, kevin...

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: PeterCC
                              J.L. RE: PeterCC Aug 11, 2012 08:48 PM

                              Ask JGold if he needs a "stunt eater" for Urasawa!

                              1. re: J.L.
                                k
                                kevin RE: J.L. Aug 11, 2012 10:47 PM

                                sorry, i already took up the spot for replacment eater at urasawa.

                                1. re: kevin
                                  n
                                  ns1 RE: kevin Aug 12, 2012 02:06 PM

                                  looks like i got usurped

                              2. re: PeterCC
                                k
                                kevin RE: PeterCC Aug 11, 2012 10:47 PM

                                maybe that would be a bad thing too, since quality would suffer.

                                also, for some reason, i'd much rather go there for dinner.

                              3. f
                                foodiemahoodie RE: kevin Aug 12, 2012 12:11 PM

                                If you read the review - it's not exactly stellar. He mostly describes the food more than he praises it. The sushi gets high marks, but the appetizers not so much. It isn't critical, but then it's not exactly a rave review either.

                                Or maybe I'm reading my own experience into the place. I went there back in April and I'd say my date and I both like it, but can't say either of us loved it. I certainly don't share the enthusiasm many on this list have for Shunji. If I understand bigjelly - that for the money, there are other restaurants - prettier, more upscale restaurants are going to win out over the funky looking place/great food concept. I like the idea of a great hole in the wall - and Shunji pretty much falls into that category. But I would MUCH prefer to eat at, say, n/naka - which is around the same price - but a far prettier venue (with indoor toilet facilities) . I prefer my hole-in-the-wall restaurants to be a bit cheaper. I might give Shunji another try- but my date would not. That said, I've been back to n/naka a number of times in the same period.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                  c
                                  chrishei RE: foodiemahoodie Aug 12, 2012 01:38 PM

                                  J. Gold in his weekly lunchtime chat: "Shunji is exceptional. The review is coming out this Saturday. Not quite sushi, but Shunji Nakao is a virtuoso with fish. Very expensive though - tasting menu is $80; omakase is $120 and up. Possibly even worth it."

                                  For what it's worth, I love Shunji.

                                  1. re: chrishei
                                    k
                                    kevin RE: chrishei Aug 12, 2012 01:55 PM

                                    i do too.

                                2. JeffW RE: kevin Aug 12, 2012 03:01 PM

                                  Hubs and I were there on Thursday, and OMG, it was a stunner. I gave Shunji my take on the Tomato Tofu dish, the Squid Ink'ed truffle dish, and the potato with blue cheese and dried Persimmon on top....I labeled this, his "Trifecta". Truly, 3 dishes that defy description....as if they were newly created foods. Just ummmazing. They were so nice to us as well. I'm not sure if the server is Shunji's wife or not, but she gave us a little heads up for future visits. While the Shunji Tasting at $120 was exquisite, for some of us, it's not an every day occasion to spend over $400 per couple after Sake and tax and tip. But it's not just the price point. We were blown away by his sushi quality, and next time we want more as the focus. Our server explained that for the first time it is great to do the full Shunji tasting, to learn about this master's signature dishes....then when a reprise visit is made, we can now order off the menu, but request his special creations to augment. Personally, I am excited as heck to go back and order Shunji's "10 pieces of Sushi, and a Roll" for $50, and then include his "Trifecta". Shunji could not have been more warm and gracious a host. As his fame soars (not to mention throngs of diners), I am betting that he will maintain this demeanor. I hope so.
                                  Cheers,
                                  Jeff

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: JeffW
                                    PeterCC RE: JeffW Aug 12, 2012 03:23 PM

                                    His hostess/waitress's name is Yuko, and I believe they are together though I do not know if they are married.

                                    1. re: JeffW
                                      c
                                      chrishei RE: JeffW Aug 12, 2012 03:39 PM

                                      Here's a link to PeterCC's post re: the 10 pieces of sushi + hand roll for $50 http://theoffalo.com/2012/07/shunji-n...

                                      1. re: chrishei
                                        JeffW RE: chrishei Aug 12, 2012 04:05 PM

                                        WOW, I guess my 3rd. eye was on the money when I felt that this would be a great way to go. We did get to try Shunji's Uni, and well....can't think of the words to describe how special it was. Not to mention his Toro, etc. etc. Oh yes, mustn't forget the baby Kanpachi.....which brings me to the following question....Kanpachi is baby Yellowtail, isn't it? So does this mean that baby Kanpachi is a "baby" baby Yellowtail :) ? All I know is that it was superb.

                                        1. re: JeffW
                                          c
                                          chrishei RE: JeffW Aug 12, 2012 04:17 PM

                                          Kanpachi = amberjack

                                          1. re: JeffW
                                            Servorg RE: JeffW Aug 12, 2012 04:20 PM

                                            "So does this mean that baby Kanpachi is a "baby" baby Yellowtail...?"

                                            I think it means baby baby Yellowtail in the same way that La Brea Tar Pits means the "Tar Tar Pits" - in other words someone is simply making sure that folks who don't speak the language that the word "kanpachi" comes from, (or "La Brea" comes fom) gets the meaning of the word by adding an English translation...

                                            1. re: Servorg
                                              PeterCC RE: Servorg Aug 12, 2012 04:58 PM

                                              Like "maki roll" (roll roll) or "temaki roll" (hand roll roll) or even "temaki hand roll" (hand roll hand roll)?

                                              *Baby kanpachi would actually be shiokko, so "baby shiokko" would be baby baby kanpachi. :-)

                                            2. re: JeffW
                                              PeterCC RE: JeffW Aug 12, 2012 04:53 PM

                                              As chrishei said, kanpachi is a different fish than hamachi (yellowtail). And hamachi generally refers to farmed yellowtail.

                                              Wild yellowtail is called different names for different stages of development: wakashi (baby yellowtail), inada (young yellowtail), warasa (uh, teenage(?) yellowtail), buri (mature yellowtail). I've only seen/had inada and buri, both are different in flavor and texture than the melt-in-mouth hamachi. Curious to try wakashi and warasa myself.

                                              1. re: PeterCC
                                                JeffW RE: PeterCC Aug 12, 2012 05:00 PM

                                                Thnx Servorg, chrishei, and PeterCC for the education! All I know is that I'm Jones'ing to go back to Shunji, big time.

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