Location: 12244 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064. (310) 826-4737
Date: June 28, 2017
Cuisine: Japanese Sushi
Rating: First rate traditional sushi
A last minute cancelation changed up the Foodie Club dinner plans — so we gathered up some Burgundy and headed out for Shunji’s omakase!
At night, Shunji offers an amazing and advanced mix of traditional and modern raw and cooked dishes.
Fred brought: 1990 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. BH 97. 1990 is one of my favorite vintages ever for this storied cuvée because while the vintage was on the riper side the high yields allowed the fruit to retain a very good level of acidity which made for balanced and ageworthy wines. While I have had the pleasure of tasting the ’90 on a number of occasions since its release, the last time was alongside the 1985 and the 1988, and as admirable as those two vintages are, the 1990 is head and shoulders above them to my taste. The fantastically complex nose is comprised of an abundance of yeast and toast characters that don’t completely dominate the essence of apple, pear, citrus, spice, acacia blossom and discreet orange peel scents. There is equally good depth to the delicious, full-bodied and powerful flavors that possess a lovely sense of vibrancy thanks to the still firm but fine mousse that shapes the delineated, delicious and impeccably well-balanced finale. In my view 1990 is one of the greatest vintages for this wine of the last 25 years and one that is still drinking well. While there is no additional upside development to be hand, neither is there any rush to drink up as this should continue to hold effortlessly for years to come.
From my cellar: 2004 François Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur. BH 94. This is a much different and classically styled with an ultra pure nose of ripe but austere green fruit brimming with oyster shell and seawater notes that introduce elegant, pure and sweet flavors all wrapped in a beautifully balanced and wonderfully detailed finish that also displays some austerity. This is built on a base of pungent minerality and will require ample time to come around. A Chablis lovers Chablis.
Fred brought: 2004 François Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Blanchot. BH 94. Fairly strong wood spice and vanilla presently mark the nose, framing the otherwise pretty white flower and floral aromas though there is plenty of mid-palate density to the rich, round, intense and powerful medium full flavors that despite the richness retain a fine sense of finishing detail. There is good minerality, buckets of dry extract and fine balance with almost painful intensity and superb finishing persistence.
From my cellar: 1997 Joseph Drouhin Romanée St. Vivant. 96 points. Bright shimmering ruby appearance in the glass. Ready from the moment opened, and didn’t really change much over the course of several hours. Enticing nose of red fruit and sweet grilled herbs, a touch perfumed as well. Great purity and class in the glass, with loads of mature Pinot flavors alongside a gentle smokiness that added heft to the wine. A great showing for the vintage, no doubt.
All and all Shunji is rather fantastic, easily in 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. I prefer Shunji at the sushi bar with a smaller group — and more nigiri — which this awesome dinner bore out. Sometimes the (non sushi) vegetable dishes are a bit too subtle, even if I appreciate them for their delicate dashi-scented ways. But Shunji is a master of the white fish and he has an exceptionally wide variety of mouse watering nigiri.
Service is attentive and excellent. Be prepared to open up the wallet as this is premium sushi — in a completely different league than your average Spider Roll — particularly if you go for the truffle rice.