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Shunji Japanese Cuisine Now Open for Lunch, Fantastic Lunch Sushi Specials: A Chowhound Exclusive (for a few hours at least...)

Since I'm at work and don't have time to compose a full post on my blog beforehand, and since being a Chowhound is (sometimes) about breaking news that the community might be interested in, I thought I'd post a quick write-up of my lunch today for now, and then do the whole formatted-post-with-in-line-images thing later this evening...

Shunji Japanese Cuisine is now open for lunch Monday through Friday from noon to 2 PM. They are serving only sushi for now (plus miso soup and dessert), but they may add tempura and other kitchen dishes depending on how the lunch business goes. They have two very reasonably priced lunch specials, as follows:

* Lunch Special Sushi (7 pieces of chef's choice sushi & 1 roll) for $23
* Lunch Special Sushi, Premium (12 pieces of chef's choice sushi & 1 roll) for $40

One can also get Sushi Omakase at market price, and Sushi Okonomi, a la carte ordering, is of course always available.

---

My wife and I joined chrishei for Shunji's inaugural lunch today. Chris and I each ordered the Premium special, while my better half had the standard special (she had a work meeting to get back to).

The courses for the specials were as follows:

0. Tai (Red Snapper/Sea Bream) [Not pictured in OP, see my comment below.]
1. Kamasu (Barracuda)
2. Kinmedai* (Golden Eye Snapper)
3. Shimaaji (Striped Jack)
4. Maguro Akami (Lean Tuna)
5. Kanpachi (Amber Jack)
6. Toro* (Fatty Tuna)
7. Marinated Sake (Salmon)
8. Katsuo (Bonito)
9. Sanma* (Mackerel Pike)
10. Ikura* (Salmon Roe)
11. Uni* (Sea Urchin)
12. Blue Crab Hand Roll

The asterisks (*) above indicate that the piece was part of the Premium lunch special only.

We had the following add-ons:

13. Beni Sake (Sockeye Salmon)
14. Hotate (Scallop)
15. Himedai (Flower Jobfish)
16. Iwashi (Sardines)
17. Zuwaigani (Snow Crab)
18. Tamago (Egg)

And for dessert:

19. Pineapple Sorbet

[The numbers above correspond with the uploaded pictures in this post, with the exception of #0. See my comment below.]

The nigiri was served one piece at a time, omakase style, and the quality was as high as ever. The highlights were the kamasu, marinated salmon, sanma, and iwashi, but every piece was truly excellent.

(BTW, the place was packed for lunch, with the sushi bar full and even several tables occupied. Shunji's brother Tetsuya came by with one of their old friends visiting from Japan, and they stayed for a quick lunch.)

---

If you look at the price points of the specials, it's really a no-brainer. (Chris called it a "game changer!") The $40 Premium special beats Kiriko's same-price lunch sushi omakase, which was already a good deal (with "only" 9 pieces of nigiri and a blue crab hand roll). The $23 special is also a good deal, but for Chowhounds with hungry appetites, I doubt it'd suffice.

I don't know if Shunji will always serve the specials one piece at a time. I'd assume they would for the $40 one, as Kiriko does, but if they also do for the standard special at $23, that would be one of the most affordable ways to get that coveted one-on-one itamae/customer experience.

I think my wallet is in (more) trouble (than it is already).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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  1. wow that $40 special is stellar.

    15 Replies
    1. re: ns1

      It really is; the pieces I got over my wife's $23 special was definitely worth the additional $17.

      1. re: ns1

        Agreed. That's crazy pricing. Definitely going as much as I can as I suspect this won't last long.

        1. re: prawn

          I too, suspect a feeding frenzy will ensue...

          1. re: J.L.

            We'll have to work extra hard to keep our chowhound anonymity. lol

            @PeterCC, rezzies @ lunch or walkin?

            1. re: ns1

              I'm suspecting J.L. will stay away at lunch for that reason alone. :-)

              This first week will be hard to judge. Like I said yesterday, the sushi bar was full and 2-3 tables were occupied as well, but it was the first day. I did make a reservation the week before for the bar in front of Shunji, so our seats were waiting. I'm not sure how it'll go today or the rest of the week. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to call them a little before opening if you want to sit at the bar and if you specifically want to sit in front of Shunji.

              Also, it will depend on when you arrive. By the time Chris and I left just after 1:30 PM, the restaurant was empty, so if you were to have a late lunch, you shouldn't have any problems walking in.

              1. re: PeterCC

                Usually I am nowhere near Shunji at lunchtime. THAT's why you prolly won't see me.

                1. re: J.L.

                  ...or you're trying to cover your tracks

                  ::shiftyeyes::

                  1. re: ns1

                    just be glad JL isn't there to snare all the prime cuts!

                    1. re: ns1

                      Me (& my telltale camera) be easy to spot.

                    2. re: J.L.

                      yeah, didn't you work in glendale or pass, or something ?

                      1. re: J.L.

                        Well, I know you avoid sushi lunches in general, based on our conversations re: Kiriko omakase last year.

                        1. re: PeterCC

                          Pete, did you notice a drop in quality (hopefully not at all) from the pieces at your lunch to the pieces of sushi at dinner ?

                          1. re: kevin

                            I mentioned above that quality remained high. I haven't been to dinner in over a month but the killer sanma I had end of August was just as fantastic yesterday and the iwashi yesterday was better than last time.

                          2. re: PeterCC

                            Wow, so much speculation! No wonder my ears were tingling today!

                            1. re: J.L.

                              I didn't speculate that you always pushed me to do dinner over lunch. :-)

              2. Hmm, for some reason the image of the first actual piece of nigiri served, tai (red snapper/sea bream), did not upload. Here it is...

                 
                3 Replies
                1. re: PeterCC

                  Yeah. Those were the 12 pieces for $40 including the toro and the golden eye ????

                  What was on the dessert list ? My chocolate mousse ????

                  1. re: kevin

                    Yep. For an extra $17 over the top of the $23 standard special price, I got a piece each of kinmedai, toro, sanma, ikura, and uni!

                    I only heard ice creams, sorbets, and fresh fruit mentioned. I didn't hear the chocolate mousse, but you could always ask.

                    Try them at lunch. Don't be afraid. :-)

                    1. re: PeterCC

                      It seems like the same meal at a Zo would run one at least 75 bones for 12 pieces.

                      Yeah. I'll try it before he increases the price.

                2. Peter you are on fire this is great

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: jessejames

                    Thanks jessejames! Between this post and Porthos' and J.L.'s, should we expect to see a report from you in the near future? ;-)

                    1. re: PeterCC

                      Yessir! I love Kiriko and that looks even better....first off to NYC this weekend to settle the whole pastrami debate...just had a refresher at langers and am planning to hit up katz and carnegie!

                      1. re: jessejames

                        please report back on your bi-coastal pastrami battle. many hounds have done the same :)

                        1. re: ns1

                          definitely! i think it's going to be hard to beat langers, but i have a feeling it will be win-win for me.

                        2. re: jessejames

                          Do Katz and 2nd Ave! Carnegie never was a contender for me. At Katz order from the counter, tip the guys slicing the pastrami and you'll get a taste and a much more loaded sandwich. Don't sit and order at the table.

                          If you like sushi, do Yasuda (caveat: haven't been since Yasuda retired) and 15 East.

                          Lucky you!

                            1. re: Porthos

                              Longer report on return.... Grea hotdogs one at katzs natural casing griddled kraut and a one dollar sabrett dog midtown w onion crunch(like that onion stuff on thanksgiving dishes but better. Katz had a fine dog but this one for a buck everywhere I see...heaven.

                              Sable and potato latkes at barney greengrass

                              Preliminary results are la better pastrami sandwiches at langers...NYC easily winning in smoked fish bagels and dogs....Joey chestnut watch out

                              1. re: jessejames

                                Try 2nd Ave and Yasuda and/or 15 East!

                                Marea is supposedly just crushing it pasta-wise.

                                Don't forget Motorino and Keste for pizza.

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  This is the fucking LA board.

                                  :)

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      Michael whites place just outside the time warner center. I concur - Excellent pasta. Had one with uni that I crave more with each letter I type!!!

                        3. Formatted post, with pictures in-line with text, at: http://theoffalo.com/2013/10/shunji-n...

                          1. Beautiful shot on that iwashi. Really shows off the gorgeous rich inside and the knifework!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Porthos

                              Thanks Porthos. Chris and I were equally appreciative of the preparation of the iwashi. It and the sanma were excellent, more great hikarimono from Shunji.

                              Of course, the shiromi weren't bad either. I got to try himedai, which I hadn't had before, and I also saw some new-to-me fish on the specials blackboard, like hedai (silver seabream) and okiaji (white mouth jack). Unfortunately those items had sold out the night before; the blackboard just hadn't been updated yet.