Shunji News: Sushi Special, Opening for Lunch Hopefully Soon

I’ve made no bones about my love for Shunji Japanese Cuisine on Pico near Bundy.  It was where I had my first omakase, and it’s a place that I’d recommend to anyone who wants to have both high quality sushi and fantastic  cooked dishes.  His amazing $80 kaiseki-esque omakase does not include a formal sushi course, but Shunji recently added a $50 sushi special that comes with 10 pieces of sushi of his choice and a hand roll.  It is this special that I decided to try Tuesday night.

Oh, as the post title states, during my meal Shunji mentioned that he is hoping to start lunch service at some point in the not-too-distant future.  He didn’t say when, but hopefully very soon!

I was curious if this sushi special would come all on one plate or if it would be served a piece at a time, as sushi omakase generally is.  It ended up being somewhere in between, with three small plates of sushi  and then the hand roll.

First up was a plate of four nigiri:  hirame (halibut), isaki (grunt), kisu (Japanese whiting), kamasu (Japanese barracuda).

Hirame, Isaki, Kisu, and Kamasu at Shunji (© 2012 The Offalo)

Hirame, Isaki, Kisu, and Kamasu at Shunji (© 2012 The Offalo)

The hirame was topped with sea salt, yuzu, and bits of kelp.  It had a delicate texture and subtle flavor that was accentuated rather than overshadowed by the seasoning.

Hirame (Halibut) and Isaki (Grunt) at Shunji (© 2012 The Offalo)

Hirame (Halibut) and Isaki (Grunt) at Shunji (© 2012 The Offalo)

Isaki is a very mild fish.  It tasted very much like tai (red snapper) and was a nice, clean example of shiromi no sakana (white-fleshed fish).

I had had kisu previously at Shunji, and it has an interesting texture and flavor that’s hard to describe.  It’s not as mild as tai or hirame or other shiromi no sakana, but it’s not as unctuous and deep-flavored like aji (Spanish mackerel) or iwashi (sardine) or other hikarimono (silver-skinned fish).  I’m not sure which of the two groupings it’d fall under (I think the latter), but it was delicious in its own right.

Kisu (Japanese Whiting) and Kamasu (Japanese Barracuda) at Shunji (© 2012 The Offalo)

Kisu (Japanese Whiting) and Kamasu (Japanese Barracuda) at Shunji (© 2012 The Offalo)

The kamasu had a nice sear to it from the torching it received from Shunji.  Its flavor and texture is a mixture of akami (lean tuna) and albacore.

Next was a plate of three pieces of tuna: honmaguro (bluefin tuna) akami (lean cut), chutoro (medium fatty tuna), and bintoro (albacore belly).

Honmaguro (Bluefin Tuna), Chutoro (Medium Fatty Tuna), and Albacore Belly at Shunji (© 2012 The Offalo)

Honmaguro (Bluefin Tuna), Chutoro (Medium Fatty Tuna), and Albacore Belly at Shunji (© 2012 The Offalo)

I had the best maguro sushi at Shunji on one of my first visits.  The akami from honmaguro just seems to have a much deeper, more complex flavor than the more common varieties of tuna (yellowfin, big eye) served as sushi.

Honmaguro Akami (Lean Bluefin Tuna) at Shunji (© 2012 The Offalo)

Honmaguro Akami (Lean Bluefin Tuna) at Shunji (© 2012 The Offalo)

I assume the chutoro was a cut of the honmaguro, and it was just how chutoro should be, fatty and flavorful.  It didn’t just completely melt in my mouth, which was fine with me, as I got to savor the fish for that much longer.

Chutoro (Medium Fatty Tuna) at Shunji (© 2012 The Offalo)

Chutoro (Medium Fatty Tuna) at Shunji (© 2012 The Offalo)

I had just had albacore belly at SUGARFISH last week