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Memorial Day Weekend at Shunji Japanese Cuisine: A Pictorial Essay

J.L. May 26, 2013 11:23 PM

Verdict: Every single meal I've had at Shunji has been absolutely sensational in its own right. This last visit was no exception. Not a single piece of nigiri on this night, yet I walked away stuffed to the gills with incredible seafood. Also this time around, I finally got to try his fabled truffle gohan (steamed truffle rice) dish - Wow. The house-made lime dessert should be crowned "Frozen Dessert of the Year" (and I'm not even a big fan of limes). The man is a marvel, and we're lucky to have him in L.A.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  1. c
    chrishei May 26, 2013 11:35 PM

    Agree w/ the lime ice cream being awesome. Truffle gohan looks amazing! Maybe I'll get to try it next Friday...

    2 Replies
    1. re: chrishei
      PeterCC May 26, 2013 11:39 PM

      +2 on the lime ice cream.

      J.L. is that a marinated tomato in the 5th pic? Was the truffle gohan on the specials menu? What was the damage? So, I assume you agree with JGold's placement...

      1. re: chrishei
        k
        kevin May 27, 2013 03:53 PM

        I love the chocolate mousse here.

      2. J.L. May 26, 2013 11:50 PM

        I apologize for the un-rotated photos - This was not my doing. (ChowMods: FIX THIS PROBLEM and let us rotate our own photos!)

        The truffle gohan is a hit-or-miss, according to the man himself. Some days he gets the urge to preapre it, sometimes he doesn't. Sorry it's not more concrete.

        1 Reply
        1. re: J.L.
          stravaigint May 29, 2013 08:27 PM

          Surely you mean un-rotated and "low quality"? ;)

          Jealous as always, thanks for a wonderful report!

        2. Porthos May 27, 2013 02:01 AM

          Damit! I have not yet had the opportunity to try the truffle gohan. Guess I should be happy with having had the matsutake version.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Porthos
            Porthos May 27, 2013 09:35 AM

            Btw, great photos once again.

            Is that chicken yolk or duck yolk next to the ikura and uni being served with the truffle rice? It looks cooked?

            1. re: Porthos
              c
              chrishei May 27, 2013 11:10 AM

              Probably quail.

              1. re: chrishei
                Porthos May 27, 2013 11:18 AM

                Looks too big and orange to be quail.

                1. re: Porthos
                  c
                  chrishei May 27, 2013 11:42 AM

                  You're right, I didn't pay attention to how big it was.

              2. re: Porthos
                J.L. May 27, 2013 03:08 PM

                Sorry, I forgot to explain. It is a marinated chicken (not duck) egg yolk which Shunji says is his secret recipe. Once opened, it has a thick but still runny yolk inside, perfect to go with that truffle rice.

                A signature dish is born.

                1. re: J.L.
                  Porthos May 27, 2013 04:01 PM

                  Sounds insane. Will have to head back soon. Thanks JL!

            2. ipsedixit May 27, 2013 03:20 PM

              The food does not do your photos justice.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit
                PeterCC May 27, 2013 03:32 PM

                Pretty sure you're gonna get pushback on that. :-)

                1. re: PeterCC
                  ipsedixit May 27, 2013 04:13 PM

                  I can take the heat. I've said much worse ...

              2. Delucacheesemonger May 27, 2013 04:26 PM

                thanks for great pictures, can't wait to do it again.

                1. K K May 27, 2013 06:52 PM

                  Nice! Very cool looking kappo ryori hybrid kind of place.

                  Is that ni-daco (simmered octopus)? What's that shellfish (doesn't look like tsubugai...is it sazae/horned turban)?

                  Very curious as to what the three white fish are too.

                  41 Replies
                  1. re: K K
                    PeterCC May 27, 2013 07:10 PM

                    It does look like cooked octopus, and yes, it's sazae.

                    Some of the special shiromi he's had lately have been houbou (sea robin), ishidai (stone snapper), hata (grouper), chikame kintoki (alfonsino). May be one or more of those.

                    1. re: PeterCC
                      PeterCC May 27, 2013 07:22 PM

                      Here's a specials board from a recent visit a few weeks ago.

                       
                    2. re: K K
                      J.L. May 27, 2013 09:32 PM

                      Hi K K! Yes, you guessed it right! Simmered (and slightly smoked) octopus! With regards to the shellfish: Right again! The shellfish is indeed sazae.

                      The four white fishes are (from right to left on my photo): Ishidai (stone snapper), fuefuki dai (emperor sweetlip), ito-hiki aji (threadfin trevally), and hata (grouper).

                      1. re: J.L.
                        k
                        kevin May 28, 2013 01:32 PM

                        Did you get any of the kinki stuff ?

                        Also, was the firefly squid still around ?

                        What were the damages ?

                        1. re: kevin
                          PeterCC May 28, 2013 01:44 PM

                          I haven't seen kinki on Shunji's menu recently (seen my comment above for a recent pic of the specials board).

                          You can see hotaru ika (firefly squid) as the right-most item in J.L.'s second pic and close-up in his third pic.

                          (Firefly squid seem plentiful this year for some reason. I'm still seeing hotaru ika at the usual suspects, e.g., Shunji, Kiriko, but also on the dinner menu at Tsujita, and one or two other places that I can't recall that I wouldn't necessarily expect to be serving them. Just waiting for them to show up in the prepared food case at Nijiya/Mitsuwa/Marukai...)

                          I also asked about the damage above, but J.L. hasn't responded. I'm going to guesstimate, even without sushi, that it was ~$150. There's about 13-14 courses that I count.

                          1. re: PeterCC
                            c
                            chrishei May 28, 2013 01:47 PM

                            Hotaru ika - it's so hot right now.

                            1. re: PeterCC
                              Porthos May 28, 2013 02:06 PM

                              Kinki doesn't make for good sushi. Watery and lacking much flavor and a bit chewy. Had it at Shibucho OC. The head you can braise like kinmedai head but since Shunji has kinmedai...

                              1. re: Porthos
                                PeterCC May 28, 2013 02:19 PM

                                I meant seared or braised kinki, which was on his menu quite a bit in the past (kevin did not mention a preparation method for the "kinki stuff" anyway).

                                1. re: PeterCC
                                  k
                                  kevin May 28, 2013 02:33 PM

                                  For some reason I'm stupid like that, but I love 99.999999 % of my sushi raw, and not seared/torched.

                                  1. re: kevin
                                    PeterCC May 28, 2013 02:43 PM

                                    The seared kinki was more of a grilled (saikyo-yaki) dish, not sushi anyway.

                                  2. re: PeterCC
                                    Porthos May 28, 2013 08:44 PM

                                    Wasn't a criticism, just noting that with kinmedai on the menu that night, there wasn't really a need for kinki in any form as kinmedai would be the better alternative in any prep (for me anyways).

                                    1. re: Porthos
                                      PeterCC May 28, 2013 08:52 PM

                                      Didn't take it as crit. Was just clarifying to kevin that when I said seared I didn't mean sushi but rather a cooked dish.

                                  3. re: Porthos
                                    k
                                    kevin May 28, 2013 02:32 PM

                                    I love kinmedai. But I don't like the seared blowtorch prep at all.

                                    1. re: kevin
                                      PeterCC May 28, 2013 02:44 PM

                                      I love kinmedai any way I can get it, but I actually do like it aburi. I think the char adds more dimensions to the flavor of the fish.

                                      1. re: PeterCC
                                        k
                                        kevin May 28, 2013 02:47 PM

                                        Yeah, I'm not a fan of the char. But if I'm getting it charred, I would prefer Shunji's charring handiwork over kiriko's.

                                  4. re: PeterCC
                                    Porthos May 28, 2013 02:09 PM

                                    I count 2 truffle dishes. You wish it were $150! ;)

                                    I'm going with about $175 before tax and tip. I would just add about 20-30% for a JLomakase be it Shunji, Mori, or Kiriko.

                                    1. re: Porthos
                                      PeterCC May 28, 2013 02:15 PM

                                      The truffle uni chawan mushi was $8 a la carte last time I was there (that's the price on the specials board pic I posted above, which doesn't say what kind of chawan mushi it was, but I'm pretty sure I had the same one that night that J.L. had).

                                      I did take a second look at the picture of the gohan and it is a significant amount of truffles, so yeah, I probably low-balled the total. I did also forget to factor in the J.L. variable. :-)

                                      1. re: PeterCC
                                        k
                                        kevin May 28, 2013 02:34 PM

                                        8 bucks for the dish with truffles and uni that's a downright steal.

                                        Usually one would pay upwards of 10 bucks for just the order of uni.

                                        1. re: kevin
                                          PeterCC Jun 3, 2013 12:35 PM

                                          Went on Friday, and I think I was mistaken about the truffle/uni chawan mushi being only $8. The specials board Friday night (which had ~20% more variety of fish than last time) had two chawan mushi listed this time, one at $8 for I assume the vegetarian one that he usually has, and then one at $13 for the summer truffle and uni one. Still, not a bad price.

                                           
                                           
                                          1. re: PeterCC
                                            n
                                            ns1 Jun 3, 2013 12:51 PM

                                            i love chawanmushi! thanks for this. i'm leaving town for a week so i'm setting up a date night before i leave - shunji is looking mighty good right now.

                                            1. re: ns1
                                              k
                                              kevin Jun 3, 2013 03:43 PM

                                              Defintely report back.

                                              Will it be your first time there ?

                                              1. re: kevin
                                                n
                                                ns1 Jun 3, 2013 03:45 PM

                                                yup. they got any set price dinner specials? Ideally I'd go in there, bang out a pair of $50 or so dinner specials, then start ordering randomly off the board.

                                                looking at the pix...IS SHUNJI IN THE OLD MR CECIL'S SPACE!?

                                                1. re: ns1
                                                  l
                                                  linus Jun 3, 2013 03:49 PM

                                                  y'know, if i recall, they did have a 10 piece sushi special...plus a hand roll.
                                                  i think it was fifty or maybe not too much more.

                                                  1. re: ns1
                                                    k
                                                    kevin Jun 3, 2013 03:50 PM

                                                    correctomundo. old cecil's space, but please do not let that deter (except for the lack of indoor plumbing on the inside if you get what i mean, i wish they'd seriously take care of that issue somehow).

                                                    anyhow, if it's your first time there, if you can for the cooked dishes and sashimi tasting menu so you can get all the hits.

                                                    but if you really really really have your heart set on it, they go the sushi omakase route instead.

                                                    i would skip the $50 special for your first time there, yeah, it will be more expensive but it's your first shot at it.

                                                    just don't order sake to drink beacause the sake list is very very very expensive (given that you want to save at least a few bucks) here for some odd reason, though it is good like one of the other hounds mentioned. and just grab a couple of sapporos on tap.

                                                    make sure to grab that chocolate mousse for dessert, and the tomato tofu dish, and monkfish liver mousse at the very least.

                                                    1. re: kevin
                                                      n
                                                      ns1 Jun 3, 2013 03:52 PM

                                                      i'm not baller enough to be part of the omakase club at the moment.

                                                      1. re: ns1
                                                        k
                                                        kevin Jun 3, 2013 03:55 PM

                                                        i'm not either.

                                                        but sometimes a little caution must be thrown to the wind.

                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                          n
                                                          ns1 Jun 3, 2013 03:56 PM

                                                          if that were true I wouldn't be eating at Shunji to begin with ;)

                                                          1. re: ns1
                                                            k
                                                            kevin Jun 3, 2013 03:58 PM

                                                            if what were true ?

                                                          2. re: kevin
                                                            c
                                                            chrishei Jun 3, 2013 03:56 PM

                                                            Just have to plan ahead.

                                                2. re: PeterCC
                                                  k
                                                  kevin Jun 3, 2013 03:42 PM

                                                  Damn, that looks good. You ordered the uni/summer truffles one, right ?

                                                  What else did you get that night ?

                                                  I will have to go now. Bank account and wallet be damned.

                                                  Hopefully he also still has the tomato agedashi tofu on there, too, ? along with the bleu cheese mousse that I like so much ?

                                          2. re: PeterCC
                                            k
                                            kevin May 28, 2013 02:31 PM

                                            Yeah, I had it first at shunji's and then i bit later at mori.

                                            That reminds me that I have not been to Shunji's for some time now. But you think I can go there maybe grab five pieces of sushi, the tomato agedashi tofu, a chocolate mousse, and then bounce ? Or in reality am I going to end where I usually end up. Roughly a C-note if not much more poorer.

                                            1. re: kevin
                                              PeterCC May 28, 2013 02:51 PM

                                              All depends on your self-control. $50 sushi special (10 nigiri + 1 temaki) + $9 agedashi tomato tofu, ~$8(?) chocolate mousse. $67 before tax/tip...

                                              1. re: PeterCC
                                                k
                                                kevin May 28, 2013 02:54 PM

                                                But how are those 10 pieces in the sushi special ?

                                                67 before tax and tip would be too much, that would be close to 90 with tax and tip.

                                                i guess i may have to hold off a little bit longer.

                                                maybe even until the fall

                                                speaking of which those who have been to Shunji's in each of the different seasons which season is hte best in your opinion to go shunji's. For some reason i usually hit it up around the months from november to january. at least so far.

                                                1. re: kevin
                                                  PeterCC May 28, 2013 03:11 PM

                                                  I've had the sushi special twice. First time when they were really busy, they came out in two plates of 5 pieces each. Second time, they were less busy, so I got it one piece at a time, omakase-style. Each time had a decent inclusions of the night's specials--been a while so I don't remember the specific fish, but definitely a piece of toro and a few of the premium fish in the mix--and a minced toro hand roll (no negi, IIRC).

                                                  You certainly could go okonomi and just have 3 orders of nigiri a la carte for, say, ~$21 (e.g., $6 yari ika, $7 madai, $8 aji, on the cheaper end of the specials), and that'll cut your bill by quite a bit. I've done something similar (plus 1-2 appetizers, no dessert) and have been able to get out for ~$50 total.

                                                  My wife likes the fresh bamboo dish, so we usually go together in the Spring. I try to go once a season if I can.

                                                  1. re: PeterCC
                                                    k
                                                    kevin May 28, 2013 03:15 PM

                                                    IIRC ?

                                                    1. re: kevin
                                                      n
                                                      ns1 May 28, 2013 03:18 PM

                                                      if i recall correctly

                                                      1. re: ns1
                                                        k
                                                        kevin May 28, 2013 03:21 PM

                                                        thanks.

                                          3. re: kevin
                                            J.L. May 28, 2013 05:35 PM

                                            Oh I racked up some charges on this visit...

                                            Let's see, Mrs. J.L. & I each had the full omakase (with truffle gohan surprise, mind you), shared a draft beer, a glass of the exquisite Dassai 50 "Otter Fest" junmai daiginjo, a half-bottle of the unique Kimura junmai daiginjo, an extra serving of the incredible shiro ebi with caviar, and a very special dessert platter. Total before tip: $505, and after (an approx. 20%) tip: $605.

                                            Date night - Done right.

                                            1. re: J.L.
                                              PeterCC May 28, 2013 06:08 PM

                                              Wow, I was way off. Of course my guess was per person, and sans alcohol, but still!

                                              The J.L. omakase price multiplicity factor, may I never doubt it again.

                                              1. re: J.L.
                                                k
                                                kevin May 28, 2013 06:11 PM

                                                I think it's the bottle of sakes that did it. They have very pricy sake here if I remember correctly.

                                                It's possible half or more of your bill was on drinks.

                                                1. re: J.L.
                                                  k
                                                  kevin May 28, 2013 06:12 PM

                                                  Sorry about asking.

                                                  But you know us, or at least me, we always have to ask.

                                                  Nosy whatchamacallits.

                                          4. Tripeler May 28, 2013 06:47 AM

                                            Totally fantastic photos, J.L. I always enjoy your posts like this one.

                                            1. PeterCC May 28, 2013 01:51 PM

                                              J.L., did you get two servings of kani miso? Looks like a small cup of it on the plate with the salad, and then another cup of it on the plate with the crab legs? Or maybe the one with the salad is of tomalley from the lobster in said salad?

                                              19 Replies
                                              1. re: PeterCC
                                                J.L. May 28, 2013 05:28 PM

                                                Quite perspicacious of you, PeterCC. In fact it was miso from 2 different crustaceans:

                                                With my arugula salad (with lobster, arugula flowers, Asian pears, bleu cheese, yellow beets), it was accompanied by lobster miso/roe/tomalley.

                                                With my taraba-gani (king crab), I enjoyed the kani miso.

                                                1. re: J.L.
                                                  k
                                                  kevin May 28, 2013 06:13 PM

                                                  Perspicacious. I still remember that single word from my old SAT days. Acuteness of judgment or understanding.

                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                    J.L. May 28, 2013 06:34 PM

                                                    Very good, kevin. Fear not! Even though your SAT days are behind you, you can still use the word "perspicacious" ---> in Scrabble! It's worth like 4,559 points if you land this on a triple word score.

                                                    1. re: J.L.
                                                      k
                                                      kevin May 28, 2013 06:37 PM

                                                      Seriously ?

                                                      I've only played children's scrabble so far. I have a long way to go.

                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                        J.L. May 28, 2013 08:38 PM

                                                        I was being facetious (hey, another SAT word!)...

                                                        1. re: J.L.
                                                          c
                                                          chrishei May 28, 2013 08:47 PM

                                                          Did they even have the SAT when you guys were in high school (just kidding)?

                                                          Any reason you didn't have any nigiri this visit, J.L.?

                                                          1. re: chrishei
                                                            PeterCC May 28, 2013 08:49 PM

                                                            When we took the SATs, schools actually cared about them. I hear they matter a lot less these days.

                                                            Yes, I was wondering the same about the lack of nigiri.

                                                            1. re: PeterCC
                                                              c
                                                              chrishei May 28, 2013 08:54 PM

                                                              Hey, I took it when it was still out of 1600 (although it might have been the last year for it) - figured that groups me with the rest of you.

                                                              1. re: chrishei
                                                                k
                                                                kevin May 28, 2013 09:00 PM

                                                                Yes. I do remember the 1600 scale.

                                                                Oh. That sends shivers down my spine.

                                                                Throw the LSAT into the mix and that makes for one fun day.

                                                            2. re: chrishei
                                                              J.L. May 28, 2013 09:27 PM

                                                              Shunji-san knows when I say "Omakase", I really truly mean that I will eat anything he decides to put in front of me that night. If it means no nigiri, then so be it.

                                                              Maybe he wanted to challenge my palate. Or, maybe he wanted to demonstrate to me that he can put together a kickass omakase without using any nigiri (mission accomplished, if that's the case)...

                                                              1. re: J.L.
                                                                PeterCC May 28, 2013 10:05 PM

                                                                Did you have to say you were full and ready for dessert? Maybe he was just about to start on the sushi? Who am I kidding? You probably could have fit another dozen pieces of nigiri into your sushi stomach, right? ;-)

                                                                (Incidentally, how long did this epic meal take? Did you close down the place?)

                                                                Funny that you suspect he may have wanted to demonstrate that he can do an omakase without sushi, because I kinda got the opposite feeling last time we were there. He was puzzled that people were saying his place wasn't a sushi restaurant. He definitely wanted people to know that sushi is absolutely in his wheelhouse.

                                                                1. re: PeterCC
                                                                  J.L. May 28, 2013 10:14 PM

                                                                  The whole meal took about 3.5 hours. The truffle gohan marked the end of the formal omakase, but then I saw another couple having the shiro ebi, and decided to have some for myself as well. I think we had sampled most, if not all, of that night's blackboard items by then, so dessert was the inevitable conclusion.

                                                                  I guess the best way to sum it up: Shunji is a man of many moods and many talents.

                                                                  1. re: PeterCC
                                                                    J.L. May 28, 2013 10:16 PM

                                                                    It was shiro miso over the hotaru ika, which imparts a sweeter flavor.

                                                                    The transparent tiny fishies are chirimen (baby sardines), served with seaweed in brine, & grated ginger for garnish.

                                                                    1. re: J.L.
                                                                      PeterCC May 28, 2013 10:25 PM

                                                                      Are chirimen and shirasu synonymous, or are shirasu a subset of chirimen?

                                                                      K K, I had both shirasu and shirauo at Shunji (and noresore too, come to think of it) and they definitely all look similar (though noresore was much more translucent).

                                                                      1. re: PeterCC
                                                                        J.L. May 28, 2013 10:35 PM

                                                                        I think shirasu denotes DRIED baby anchovies. The chirimen I had were fresh and in brine, never dried.

                                                                        1. re: J.L.
                                                                          PeterCC May 28, 2013 10:50 PM

                                                                          Hmm, hope I'm not coming across as being contrary this evening, but from what I'm finding, it seems the meanings are flipped, with the chirimen being fully dried and shirasu being partially dried (and possibly reconstituted in its preparation). Shunji also described them (to me and on the specials board) as shirasu. *shrug*

                                                                          1. re: PeterCC
                                                                            J.L. May 28, 2013 10:52 PM

                                                                            You may well be in the right on this. Nihongoryori erudition notwithstanding, they're baby anchovies, and they're down the hatch.

                                                                    2. re: PeterCC
                                                                      J.L. May 28, 2013 10:29 PM

                                                                      Back when woolly mammoths roamed the ice-covered earth, when paleolithic high school students had to trudge in freezing sleet up 75 degree grade hills to and from school (both ways!), we still had to study for the SATs.

                                                                      I fondly recall my classmate Thag & I taking great delight in learning verbal jewels such as 'terpsichorean' and 'garrulous' as we struggled to find shelter in the crevasses which dotted the blighted landscape. Deciding whether column A or column B was greater (or were they in fact equal?) was our mental preoccupation as we fashioned crude stone spearheads in order to fend off the wandering hordes of ravenous mastodons. Thag & I dreamt of a day when we would be liberated from this frigid cataclysm - A day when our herculean cerebral efforts would be rewarded, and we would be free; free to attend the university of our choice... (Sunny UCLA, in my case).

                                                                      1. re: J.L.
                                                                        PeterCC May 28, 2013 10:34 PM

                                                                        Oh, I'm definitely more in the antediluvian camp than whippersnappers like chrishei. I remember SAT prep quite well (or not so well, since it was, you know, so long ago).

                                                    2. K K May 28, 2013 10:03 PM

                                                      Is that su-miso (vinegared miso sauce) on the hotaru ika?

                                                      The transparent white fishies with the minced ginger on top....shirauo (icefish?). Was going to guess noresnore/sea eel larvae but looks more like icefish.

                                                      And is that caviar over shiro ebi?

                                                      1. l
                                                        linus Jun 3, 2013 11:15 AM

                                                        colour me onboard the shunji bandwagon.

                                                        had the sushi omakase the other night, and it was just great.

                                                        the fish was excellent, the garnish minimal (the sushi guy used just salt on a couple, which i totally dug), the sushi dude totally cool. liked our server, too.

                                                        very pleasant, calm but not reverent space. seemed like a lot of japanese there. the bill was pretty darn reasonable for what we ate and drank (beer).
                                                        by the way, how come these places never offer better beer? does it not pair well or something?
                                                        i'm not sure i've ever seen a decent "craft" beer in a sushi joint.

                                                        anywho, i would totally go there again.

                                                        11 Replies
                                                        1. re: linus
                                                          Porthos Jun 3, 2013 11:35 AM

                                                          Thanks to JL, I too have made a reservation for next week! Requested the truffle gohan. Fingers crossed.

                                                          I love beer with sushi. Mori has some Allagash and I think HItachino. The sake list at Shunji is special if ever you are in the mood to splurge.

                                                          The great thing about Shunji is that the more you go, the more he tailors the meal to your tastes.

                                                          1. re: Porthos
                                                            l
                                                            linus Jun 3, 2013 01:46 PM

                                                            well, if shunji is the fellow with the glasses and the little goatee, i had the other fellow.
                                                            who was swell, anywho.

                                                            i got that feeling they do get to know you. a couple sat down next to me who they were familiar with, and catered to their tastes. we tried to steer him towards stronger flavoured, chewier, and exotic fish, but i sorta got the feeling he did training wheel us a bit.
                                                            i wish i had told them ixnay on the bluefin. the toro was fairly mind blowing, but had a real guilty aftertaste pour moi.
                                                            the sake list did look extensive, but i'm mostly sake ignorant, and prefer beer anyway.
                                                            i did see some folks drinking red wine, and shunji (if that's him) having a glass.

                                                            we wanted some squid sushi, but the sushi dude recommended what he called their 'signature,' which was a squid/squid ink/truffle/uni/quail egg combo which was quite something.
                                                            he did give us an entire teeny whole squid which was disturbing (it was creamy inside. we were told, yes, those are the 'guts') and delicious all at once.
                                                            i asked about the truffles (we saw him shaving some over something) and he said they were, indeed, italian.

                                                            1. re: linus
                                                              n
                                                              ns1 Jun 3, 2013 02:03 PM

                                                              "he did give us an entire teeny whole squid which was disturbing (it was creamy inside. we were told, yes, those are the 'guts') and delicious all at once."

                                                              is this the firefly squid?

                                                              1. re: ns1
                                                                PeterCC Jun 3, 2013 02:08 PM

                                                                I'm assuming it is indeed firefly squid, a.k.a. hotaru ika, which is de rigueur at Japanese restaurants nowadays, it seems.

                                                                1. re: PeterCC
                                                                  l
                                                                  linus Jun 3, 2013 03:09 PM

                                                                  i'll defer to the experts. we were told what it was but it was hard for me to understand.

                                                                  1. re: linus
                                                                    Porthos Jun 3, 2013 03:10 PM

                                                                    Just take a look at JL's photo #4. Did it look like that?

                                                                    1. re: Porthos
                                                                      l
                                                                      linus Jun 3, 2013 03:11 PM

                                                                      "you are correct, sir" he said in a phil hartman imitating ed mcmahon-type voice.

                                                                      looks like it.

                                                                      other sushi highlights were the two different kinds of snapper, and the shad.

                                                                  2. re: PeterCC
                                                                    k
                                                                    kevin Jun 3, 2013 03:45 PM

                                                                    I really like that stuff.

                                                                    Who knew ?

                                                                    And damn after all these posts, a serious number is going to be done on the old wallet.

                                                                    maybe i can just grab that truffle uni and a couple other dishes hopefully.

                                                                2. re: linus
                                                                  Ciao Bob Jun 3, 2013 02:15 PM

                                                                  One of the ways you that it IS him, is that he will be "having a glass."

                                                                  1. re: linus
                                                                    Porthos Jun 3, 2013 02:50 PM

                                                                    "disturbing...and delicious all at once"

                                                                    Hallmark of a truly great dinner.

                                                                    1. re: linus
                                                                      J.L. Jun 3, 2013 05:48 PM

                                                                      The gent with the goatee/glasses is Shunji-san, and your server was most likely Tani-san (who is indeed swell).

                                                                      Thanks to everyone for all the kind words on the thread, by the way. Just make sure to also thank Shunji for bringing his talents to West L.A.!

                                                                      Enjoy your meal there, Porthos!

                                                                3. inaplasticcup Jun 3, 2013 02:38 PM

                                                                  Just fantastic. I'm drooling. Thanks for sharing, J.L.

                                                                  1. Porthos Jun 12, 2013 11:16 AM

                                                                    Infinite thanks JL for this post. The truffle gohan was amazing and will probably go down as one of the top things I have ever eaten. Easily top taste of 2013 in LA.

                                                                    Dinner was amazing all around as usual.

                                                                    17 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Porthos
                                                                      Porthos Jun 12, 2013 11:22 AM

                                                                      Just a few photos since JL and PeterCC have already posted such amazing photos.

                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                      1. re: Porthos
                                                                        PeterCC Jun 12, 2013 11:35 AM

                                                                        Ah, you got some of the ise ebi as tartare. I love that preparation! How did you like the nagareko and shiitake? So simple, yet so delicious.

                                                                        1. re: PeterCC
                                                                          Porthos Jun 12, 2013 11:46 AM

                                                                          Mine was thinly sliced abalone. It was delicious.

                                                                          As was the aoyagi himo, body, scallop sushi. The kamasu, chu toro, and kohada sushi.

                                                                          Trumpet fish sashimi from the sashimi plate was excellent also.

                                                                          Again, all excellent.

                                                                          1. re: Porthos
                                                                            k
                                                                            kevin Jun 12, 2013 11:47 AM

                                                                            Damn. Hope long will they be serving the truffle gohan for ?

                                                                            Any clue on how much it would costed for that dish not including other dishes ?

                                                                            Thanks.

                                                                            1. re: Porthos
                                                                              PeterCC Jun 12, 2013 11:51 AM

                                                                              Same for me; nagareko is baby abalone.

                                                                              Have you had the wasabi maki? On a visit a few months ago, Shunji asked if I had ever had it, saying it was popular in Japan, but not so much here. I had not, so he made some for me. It was incredibly simple and delicious. Much mellower than I thought it would be.

                                                                              On a subsequent visit, he made it again, as well as gari maki, for me and chrishei.

                                                                               
                                                                              1. re: PeterCC
                                                                                k
                                                                                kevin Jun 12, 2013 11:53 AM

                                                                                Is it just wasabi in the wasabi maki ????

                                                                                1. re: kevin
                                                                                  PeterCC Jun 12, 2013 12:11 PM

                                                                                  Yup just wasabi, shari, and nori. So simple.

                                                                                  The wasabi is julienne'd, not grated. Somehow that makes it less pungent. It's almost sweet and floral.

                                                                                2. re: PeterCC
                                                                                  Porthos Jun 12, 2013 11:57 AM

                                                                                  Got it. Just always referred to those suckers as awabi. You learn something every day :-)

                                                                                  Never had the wasabi maki. If I had room, I would just consume more truffle rice and more Hokkaido uni.

                                                                                  1. re: Porthos
                                                                                    PeterCC Jun 12, 2013 12:16 PM

                                                                                    I learned something new about abalone too today. In addition to awabi and nagareko, another term is tokobushi. I believe awabi (or kuro-awabi...?) and tokobushi are two different varieties, and nagareko may be a development stage.

                                                                                    Paging anyone who speaks Japanese and can answer these with way more authority than I have.

                                                                            2. re: Porthos
                                                                              k
                                                                              kevin Jun 12, 2013 11:36 AM

                                                                              Looks like you had a light meal compared to the rest of the crew. :)

                                                                              did you stop by Mori as well.

                                                                              What is the 1st picture ?

                                                                              And is the 2nd pic the lobster from Chile prepared 3 or 4 ways with that soup ? It looks like the local spiny lobster I had a few months ago, only smaller.

                                                                              The truffle gohan looks like it is layered with copious, prodigious shavings of truffles. By the way, what kind of truffles is he using now ?

                                                                              Ok, I k,eep on saying I'm going there. And now I am sold on it.

                                                                              1. re: kevin
                                                                                PeterCC Jun 12, 2013 11:38 AM

                                                                                He did say these were just "a few" photos, so I'm assuming he went all-out.

                                                                                First pic is that truffle/uni chawanmushi you've been coveting.

                                                                                1. re: PeterCC
                                                                                  k
                                                                                  kevin Jun 12, 2013 11:43 AM

                                                                                  I think it's the second picture I;m more after.

                                                                                  I loved that lobster tartare with the truffles I had a few months back. And this one looks to have a dollop of premium caviar running shot gun.

                                                                                  I guess I know have my five dishes: truffle gohan, the uni/truffle, the Chilean lobsters, the tomato agedashi tofu, and maybe about five single piece of sushi, and the chocolate mousse for dessert. And maybe a bottle of sake, and a couple sapporos on tap.

                                                                                  damn,

                                                                                  1. re: PeterCC
                                                                                    k
                                                                                    kevin Jun 12, 2013 11:54 AM

                                                                                    I think it's the second picture I;m more after.

                                                                                    I loved that lobster tartare with the truffles I had a few months back. And this one looks to have a dollop of premium caviar running shot gun.

                                                                                    I guess I know have my five dishes: truffle gohan, the uni/truffle, the Chilean lobsters, the tomato agedashi tofu, and maybe about five single piece of sushi, and the chocolate mousse for dessert. And maybe a bottle of sake, and a couple sapporos on tap.

                                                                                    1. re: kevin
                                                                                      PeterCC Jun 12, 2013 12:17 PM

                                                                                      I know you're on a budget, but I think the gohan and the ise ebi will push you into triple digits already...

                                                                                2. re: Porthos
                                                                                  n
                                                                                  ns1 Jun 12, 2013 11:46 AM

                                                                                  wow that lobster presentation looks amazing

                                                                                  1. re: ns1
                                                                                    k
                                                                                    kevin Jun 12, 2013 11:47 AM

                                                                                    spring for it when you go there.

                                                                                    Throw a little bit of that caution to the wind. :)

                                                                                3. re: Porthos
                                                                                  J.L. Jun 12, 2013 11:34 AM

                                                                                  Simply outstanding.

                                                                                  So glad you were able to enjoy this dish!

                                                                                  You got spiny lobster AND the A5 wagyu as well, I see. Fantastic photos, to boot!

                                                                                4. k
                                                                                  kevin Oct 19, 2013 11:29 AM

                                                                                  I can't even find your email on the blog there.

                                                                                  Actually I never visited your blog before.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                                                    PeterCC Oct 19, 2013 11:51 AM

                                                                                    You replied to the wrong thread. My blog is linked to in my profile. It's theoffalo dot com. My email is theoffalo at theoffalo dot com.

                                                                                    1. re: PeterCC
                                                                                      k
                                                                                      kevin Oct 19, 2013 09:05 PM

                                                                                      My bad.

                                                                                      Hmmm. Why'd I reply to this thread ?

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