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Los Angeles Area Japanese Sushi Lunch Meal Review

Shunji Japanese Cuisine Now Open for Lunch, Fantastic Lunch Sushi Specials: A Chowhound Exclusive (for a few hours at least...)

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Shunji Japanese Cuisine Now Open for Lunch, Fantastic Lunch Sushi Specials: A Chowhound Exclusive (for a few hours at least...)

PeterCC | Oct 1, 2013 04:02 PM

Since I'm at work and don't have time to compose a full post on my blog beforehand, and since being a Chowhound is (sometimes) about breaking news that the community might be interested in, I thought I'd post a quick write-up of my lunch today for now, and then do the whole formatted-post-with-in-line-images thing later this evening...

Shunji Japanese Cuisine is now open for lunch Monday through Friday from noon to 2 PM. They are serving only sushi for now (plus miso soup and dessert), but they may add tempura and other kitchen dishes depending on how the lunch business goes. They have two very reasonably priced lunch specials, as follows:

* Lunch Special Sushi (7 pieces of chef's choice sushi & 1 roll) for $23
* Lunch Special Sushi, Premium (12 pieces of chef's choice sushi & 1 roll) for $40

One can also get Sushi Omakase at market price, and Sushi Okonomi, a la carte ordering, is of course always available.

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My wife and I joined chrishei for Shunji's inaugural lunch today. Chris and I each ordered the Premium special, while my better half had the standard special (she had a work meeting to get back to).

The courses for the specials were as follows:

0. Tai (Red Snapper/Sea Bream) [Not pictured in OP, see my comment below.]
1. Kamasu (Barracuda)
2. Kinmedai* (Golden Eye Snapper)
3. Shimaaji (Striped Jack)
4. Maguro Akami (Lean Tuna)
5. Kanpachi (Amber Jack)
6. Toro* (Fatty Tuna)
7. Marinated Sake (Salmon)
8. Katsuo (Bonito)
9. Sanma* (Mackerel Pike)
10. Ikura* (Salmon Roe)
11. Uni* (Sea Urchin)
12. Blue Crab Hand Roll

The asterisks (*) above indicate that the piece was part of the Premium lunch special only.

We had the following add-ons:

13. Beni Sake (Sockeye Salmon)
14. Hotate (Scallop)
15. Himedai (Flower Jobfish)
16. Iwashi (Sardines)
17. Zuwaigani (Snow Crab)
18. Tamago (Egg)

And for dessert:

19. Pineapple Sorbet

[The numbers above correspond with the uploaded pictures in this post, with the exception of #0. See my comment below.]

The nigiri was served one piece at a time, omakase style, and the quality was as high as ever. The highlights were the kamasu, marinated salmon, sanma, and iwashi, but every piece was truly excellent.

(BTW, the place was packed for lunch, with the sushi bar full and even several tables occupied. Shunji's brother Tetsuya came by with one of their old friends visiting from Japan, and they stayed for a quick lunch.)

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If you look at the price points of the specials, it's really a no-brainer. (Chris called it a "game changer!") The $40 Premium special beats Kiriko's same-price lunch sushi omakase, which was already a good deal (with "only" 9 pieces of nigiri and a blue crab hand roll). The $23 special is also a good deal, but for Chowhounds with hungry appetites, I doubt it'd suffice.

I don't know if Shunji will always serve the specials one piece at a time. I'd assume they would for the $40 one, as Kiriko does, but if they also do for the standard special at $23, that would be one of the most affordable ways to get that coveted one-on-one itamae/customer experience.

I think my wallet is in (more) trouble (than it is already).

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