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Late Autumn Crab-Fest at Shunji Japanese Cuisine: A Pictorial Essay

Amuse bouche #1: Jellyfish "sunomono" with myoga, cucumber.

Amuse bouche #2: Chilled potato puree with mountain mushrooms, seared scallops.

Appetizer platter: Goma (sesame) tofu, ankimo (monkfish liver) with caviar), bleu cheese ball, kaki (persimmon) with tofu, grilled tako (octopus) with ginnan (ginkgo nuts), grilled sazae (conch).

Steamed Shanghai hairy mitten crab with roe.

Live halibut sashimi "usu-zuruki" style, with fried spines & skin.

Matsutake mushroom dobin mushi.

Live Alaskan king crab, served 2 ways: Steamed & sashimi. Accompanied by sweet vinegar / minced ginger dip.

New dish: Kegani miso gohan (Hokkaido hairy crab roe rice), with steamed kegani meat mixed in. Served with tofu miso soup. DEFINITELY in the running for "Dish of the Year"...

Bonus rounds: Kanpachi & kinmedai (golden eye snapper) nigiri.

Housemade desserts: Lime ice cream, mango ice cream, pineapple ice cream, chocolate mousse, mixed berries sorbet, dragonfruit, persimmon, figs & berries.

We ate it all. Truly a superb meal.

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  1. Uncle!! You win!

    Kani miso gohan looks insanely delicious.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Porthos

      And I thought that you were just kidding about J.L. in those other posts.

      1. Damn that looks tasty. Time to get my ass over to WLA.

          1. and great picture of shunji with that massive crab -- did you get a portion of it or whole thing?

            1 Reply
            1. re: jessejames

              >> We ate it all. <<

              Yep. To be fair, there were 7 of us.

            2. omg i need to win the lotto

                1. Any idea how many kegani it took to extract that amount of miso? Guessing at least 3.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Porthos

                    Um, more like 6+ hairy crabs. It was a S***-LOAD of work for Shunji-san and his crew to extract said roe & meat for this dish.

                    1. re: J.L.

                      I dare say that may be at least twice the price of the truffle gohan!

                  2. Picture #15 looks like it would be right up my alley.

                    26 Replies
                    1. re: kevin

                      Steamed kegani, kegani roe, premium rice, what's not to lust?

                      1. re: J.L.

                        the pinkish flesh of that crabmeat....

                        what's kegani ?

                          1. re: J.L.

                            how was the king crab in comparison? my wife loves it and was thinking of taking her to shunji.

                            1. re: jessejames

                              King crab & hairy crab are different beasts.

                              The king crab offers giant, flaky soft pieces of crabby goodness, and the meat is relatively easy to extract (and of course bigger, too, since it's a giant critter to begin with)...

                              Whereas for the hairy crab, you gotta work a bit more for the meat. The payoff is worth it though: Sweet crab meat with a certain brininess unique to the species. The hairy crab roe is also the best roe of all crab species I've tried, in my opinion. Most Japanese places up to snuff (Shunji included of course) will do the heavy lifting for their customers and extract as much meat/roe as possible from the carapace and pre-open the shells on the claws/legs to maximize dining enjoyment.

                              Please note: The king crab we had at Shunji was a special pre-order for our large party of 7. Not sure if he has king crab available on regular days.

                              1. re: J.L.

                                Whereas for the hairy crab, you gotta work a bit more for the meat. The payoff is worth it though:
                                Uh, thought you said Shunji and his crew did all the work ;-P

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  It's hard work watching Shunji slave over your food...

                                  1. re: TheOffalo

                                    It's hard work making the amount of money to pay Shunji to slave over your food...


                                        1. re: TheOffalo

                                          What debt? Just use the expense account. Muuuch better. Doesn't hurt to be "the client" sometimes, either. :-)

                                          1. re: TheOffalo

                                            Someone else paid this time, but I estimate about $200-$225 per person (before tip).

                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                That's actually not too bad.

                                                1. re: ns1

                                                  We made up for it in volume (7 peeps)...

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        jessejames asked about hairy crab preparations in general, so I described it as such.

                                        For the kani miso gohan I had on that night, however... Yes, Shunji-san & crew did ALL the work.

                                        1. re: J.L.

                                          Speaking of crab fest, surprised there are no reports of the Singapore chile crab at Starry Kitchen. Wed-Sat only or I'd be all over it for family dinner this Sunday.

                                          1. re: Porthos

                                            Didn't know that was back. Thanks for heads up

                                      2. re: J.L.

                                        JL - thanks for that info. I had the kegani earlier this week and it was awesome -- the miso too. i was really amazed how mild it tasted and was a nice dipping sauce for the crab. I agree the kegani very labor intensive for Shunji (but you should have seen him personally rolling out the tiny legs on the shanghai crabs). I've had the king crab at sea harbor and was thinking it might be more up my wife's alley for the reasons you say -- she's not a sport eater (ie no roe) like me, let alone you. Shunji's been very nice to me and showed us photos of your crab Wednesday and arranged for us (ahead of time) to have the hairy cousins. They weren't cheap, but not out of control either...i think we paid $7-800 bucks once for a whole king crab at sea harbor, and a lot of meat, and dynamite so worth it....maybe for 3 people, not so much?? in the end I like your strategy best, trading places style -- 'can't we have both?' i think we need to pick one tho so we can also enjoy the other stuff...not sure how you managed not to get that toro collar brotha!

                                        1. re: J.L.

                                          I'm certain the king crab is not available without advance order. Shunji is probably paying $30-40/lb. That is a serious financial commitment on his part. I hope he takes a CC at the time of reservation for that sort of thing to protect himself against last minute cancellations.

                                          1. re: Porthos

                                            I don't think you need to worry about shunji. He's got jl just in case

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          The "hair" don't come off the shell, and none of the hair gets into the carapace or flesh or roe.

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          "ke" in Japanese = "hair."
                                          "kani" = "crab."

                                          When compounding words in Japanese, the second word (if beginning with a consonant) receives a "hard" pronunciation. So, ke + kani = kegani = "hair crab," = "hairy crab."

                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                            Come on Bula.

                                            This is way over my fucking head. :)

                                            Happy Turkey day guys.

                                    1. How much was the food charge for this meal pp?

                                      1. Time to save some money, so I can try this next year (if we're allowed to).

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: chrishei

                                          "Allowed to?"
                                          If you ask nicely and are willing to get rid of your highly enriched uranium stockpile, I do not see why to would be sanctioned, chrishei.

                                        2. Jl we had some crabfest tonite too. Great recommendation and very pleasant time w shunji and my wife and her dad first time sushi ever. Lucky guy. Dynamite soul music no cover authentic shit at la Louisiane after fried stuff also looked flaky and smelled great. Both spots gems. Thanks hounds for leading me to shunjis ! Gobble gobble

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: jessejames

                                            Are they open for Thanksgiving too ?

                                            I'd bet they'd serve up a mean turkey.

                                            1. re: jessejames

                                              >>...and her dad first time sushi ever.<<

                                              You know your first-timer sushi dad-in-law will have very few places to get his sushi on now. :)

                                            2. Nice feast JL. Do you know where Shunji-san sources his matsutake? I'm finding the stuff sourced from the NW has been pretty meh lately.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                the matsutake i had at Shunji's a few weeks ago were from NW, and it was pretty blah. mediocre matsutake dobinmushi.

                                                1. re: chowseeker1999

                                                  Domestic matsutake has been so lacking over recent years. One has to nuzzle an armful to get the intensity of a lone mushroom from past years.

                                              2. Do you know where Shunji-san sources his Shanghai hairy mitten crab. I have not seen them in markets for decades.