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Apr 16, 2014 05:28 PM

Junji's Fine Japanese Cuisine Marblehead

Maybe this review should go on the Northern New England board but there are so many fans of the former Sushi Island in Wakefield I thought I would post it here first.

I have been planning to venture up to Marblehead to check out Junji Aoki-san's new place Junji's Fine Japanese Cuisine so I made the trip today for lunch. Junji-san's new place is much smaller than Sushi Island but it has 10 or so seats at the sushi bar and 15 or so tables. Nice bright atmosphere with a real Japanese feel to it.

I ordered the Ika Geso (lightly fried squid tentacles) to start followed by an assortment of his best sashimi of the day and then closed with an order of Shima Aji and Toro Negiri sushi and a Natto Temaki (hand roll).

In a word EXCELLENT! I used to think that Sushi Island was one of the top 3 or 4 Japanese restaurants in the Boston area and my lunch today confirmed that Junji is still doing everything right. The quality of everything I ordered, the presentation and the professionalism of Junji made for an excellent lunch. I just wish Marbelhead was a bit closer to home for me because I would be there very often.

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  1. We've been a handful of times now, and I agree that the sushi at Junji is fabulous, as are the noodle dishes. I will say that this is a very traditional sushi restaurant, in that the simpler the preparation, the better: sashimi and nigiri are really, really fantastic, and the fish selection is both fresher and more interesting than you'll find at the vast majority of other Boston sushi joints, but Junji-san has very little interest in makimono, so you won't find anything more exotic than a (delicious, snow-crab-based) California roll or dragon roll, if that's your thing. It's not a big loss for me, as again, the quality of the fish is so good that I'd rather not lose it in a scrum of ingredients.

    One other note: service has been spotty so far, not in the sense of inconsiderate or unprofessional, but the kitchen seems to be working out the kinks and so sometimes dishes from the sushi bar, sometimes from the kitchen, have taken an extraordinarily long time to arrive. It doesn't stop me from going, but I wouldn't wait until you're already hungry to go.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cjd260

      Thanks for confirming my recommendation. One of the things I like best about Junji-san's sushi is that he doesn't bother with "designer rolls, hipster rolls" or any other rolls that you wouldn't also find in Japan. He is a traditionalist and that is what I love about what he does. If you like makimono then ask him to do a Negi-toro temaki (chopped belly tuna mixed with chives) or an una-kyu (eel with cucumbers) temaki. Both are excellent and with a temaki (hand roll) the nori stays crisp and delicious as you eat it. I can't wait to go again soon.

    2. This place sounds great.

      Do yo know if Junji is getting fish from local sources?

      There are fantastic scallops caught nearby, tuna and more.


      4 Replies
      1. re: 9lives

        I am not sure but the day I was there my Sashimi Omoriawase (assortment) had extremely fresh scallops, beautiful Toro and very good Shima Aji in it. I complimented about how delicious the Toro was and he told he that his fish supplier had only a very limited amount and he didn't know how long he would be able to continue to have it available. By this comment I had the impression that it was a local supplier. I'm sure he would tell you where he gets his fish if you asked him.

        1. re: RoyRon

          I'm not as sure he'd tell me as you are..:)

          He's probably getting his toro from Gloucester.

          I bought some local caught Marblehead diver scallops at Marblehead Lobster tha were fantastic. It's such a small industry that virtually all of it is consumed within a few miles of the store.

          Sounds like he's going outside the usual supplier like TrueWorld.

          Excellent sign, anxious to get up there.

          1. re: RoyRon

            roy, I guess junji has not had alot of requests for maguro yama kake in his new place, because he is not serving it now. Do you know if Sushi Cafe and the new Arl place you like- serve it, quail egg et al? It is one of my fav dishes, and while easy enough to make at home, have to make a special trip to find yamakake(prob in that medford store) now that the Mass Ave store is gone. Thnx much.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              Hi OC
              I haven't seen it at Sono in Arlington and I don't know whether Sushi Cafe in Cambridge offers it either. As you said, it is a very simple dish but because of the somewhat slimy consistency of the Tororo (yamakake) I don't think there would be much demand for it so may be that is why Junji doesn't have it.

        2. This opening means Marblehead has the best food of any Boston suburb.

          1 Reply
          1. re: black_lab

            Besides 5 Corners and Junji (which I have yet to try) what other restaurants do you like in Marblehead?

          2. Tried Junji a few Sats ago.

            Overall the fish was superb quality and well prepared. A few fish from Japan that are not often seen here, a sea bream, mackeral, superb eel, nice chu toro (med fatty tuna)

            I was a little underwhelmed by the omakase. A nice sashimi offering and then a pretty pedestrian plate of nigiri. I had a far more interesting omakase at Sushi Island in Wakefield.

            If I lived nearby,this would likely be my "go to" place but I'd work through the menu and specials board instead of the omakase.

            Very reasonably priced.