West LA: The Full Omakase at Shunji Sushi
Shunji in West LA has been rocking the LA foodie scene with its beautiful sushi. Almost every day you can find pics of their gorgeous sushi on Instagram. It got to the point where I finally had to go. And I went full omakase.
My fine dining partner and I opted to sit at the bar to fully enjoy the experience. First we got delicate scallops with four different kinds of mushrooms. I really enjoyed this opening dish as I love mushrooms and the scallops were amazingly fresh.
Next we got an assortment of appetizers including persimmon with a tofu dressing, baby conch, fish jelly with a dashi tomato and monkfish liver with a dab of caviar.
I have a thing for texture so I enjoyed the crunch of the persimmon, the snap of the conch, the chewy fish jelly, the lusciousness of the tomato and the smooth monkfish liver not to mention the pop of caviar.
In all the years of coveting Chinese hairy crab, I hadn’t realized I could get Japanese hairy crab at sushi bars. Although I hadn’t seen it until now so it might be really seasonal. The delicate crab tasted very fresh. I longed for more but my friend and I divided up the small plate shown and used dainty-sized tools to remove the sweet meat.
Next we were greeted with a plate of various sashimi. From left to right we had the bonito, gizzard shad, blue fin tuna and amberjack. My favorite of the four was the bonito. So much flavor and I do always love gizzard shad.
Over the past few years I’ve gotten on better terms with sea urchin. Uni can be hit or miss but at a fine establishment like Shunji, I expected it to be out of this world. And it lived up to that expectation. I loved this uni “pudding.” It was crazy good and one of my favorite dishes of the night.
But what Shunji is known for is this tomato agadashi. It’s like eating a creamy, tomato-y savory cake. You almost didn’t need the eggplant chip and shishito pepper but it adds a nice change in texture.
Some people have problems with squishy, slimy textures like okra or Japanese mountain yam. I love it though and this mountain yam porridge is perfect.
For our nigiri experience, we started out with the blue nose snapper. I don’t believe I’ve had this fish before. It was really exciting. Nice and firm, we were off to a good start.
Next we had Japanese barracuda. It’s a firmer fish and a great bite.
Shima aji (striped jack) was very much appreciated. I liked the trio of white fishes so far
We took a shellfish break and dipped into the geoduck. I crazy about geoduck and I liked the little dabs and sauces so far with each piece. I thought about asking for another geoduck but wanted to see where else we went before ordering more.
I was a little bit surprised to get salmon but I do like it very much. Shunji added their touch with a strip of marinated skin.
At this point we noticed someone else being served a head of what looked like the world’s smallest sword fish. This was called needle fish and the sushi was very nice. Super fresh.
Another classic, the yellowtail had been brushed with sauce so we didn’t need to add any.
The pleasure of popping ikura (salmon eggs) in your mouth is the same fun and gleeful feeling you get from popping bubble wrap. Pop pop pop!
We finished off our sushi night with anago while clutching our stomachs. We may have over did it. I always call eel my dessert fish.
But we had actual dessert. I chose the lighter mango ice cream while my friend had the chocolate pudding. We were both very happy with our choices.
If I was on the Westside more, I would love to try Shunji for lunch. Or come back just for sushi. Then again, I enjoyed all the cooked dishes as well. So I guess I will have to do it all over again- full omakase, sushi lunch, all-sushi dinner.