Location: 12244 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064. (310) 826-4737
Date: September 30, 2016
Cuisine: Japanese Sushi
Rating: First rate traditional sushi
My parents and some friends wanted sushi — so out we go for Shunji’s omakase!
At night, Shunji offers an amazing and advanced mix of traditional and modern raw and cooked dishes.
From my cellar: 2006 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses.. BH 94. The touch of wood spice this displayed last year has now been completely integrated though the original anise, clove and saline notes remain to add nuance to the pretty and elegant mix of white and yellow fruit aromas that introduce round and generous flavors that offer up real volume and mid-palate density, all wrapped around a firm acid spine on the refined, pure and explosive finish. This is positively stunning, certainly in an absolute sense but particularly so in the context of the vintage. One to look for and like the Valmur, this almost vibrates with an underlying sense of energy.
Some kind of very mellow Japanese broth with bits of fish and mushroom. You squeeze the yuzu in too and pour it into the little cup.
Live Halibut! A rather impressive but disturbing bit of dinner theater. This poor guy was still alive (or at least gasping) as we ate his yummy sashimi flesh. Bits of his skin had been fried so they curled up all chewy too.
From my cellar: 2011 Prager Riesling Smaragd Wachstum Bodenstein. VM 92. Initially reminiscent of slate and fresh rain, the nose evolves toward apricot and peach fruit along with caraway seed and lemongrass. Bracing lively acidity gives a weightless quality to the intense flavors of yellow plum, wild spice and abundant minerals. Seductive and stylish, with noteworthy grip and persistence, this is an excellent 2011. Some may prefer it, but the lower alcohol and marvelous freshness speak for 2012 as the slightly better of these two excellent rieslings.
Tomato tofu. This Shunji classic is a block of sticky tomato paste made from 5 Japanese tomatoes. It has been glommed together into a tofu-like texture with a mild but very fresh tomato taste and topped with a shiso pepper. It was pretty good, even by tomato-hater standards.
All and all Shunji is rather fantastic, joining the large repertoire of top LA sushi restaurants. This was a really great take on sushi kaiseki style dishes, combining both innovations with a solid grounding in traditional Japanese flavors and seasonal ingredients. There was some really unusual stuff too. While this was a good meal, I prefer Shunji at the sushi bar with a smaller group — and possibly more nigiri. Many of the items tonight had that very subtle Japanese flavor profile. Shunji, although modern, is less “punched up” than many LA sushi houses with much less reliance on acid (a.k.a. vinegar) and other “flashier” flavors.