More and more hounds have been pouring into the newly opened Shunji’s and loving it. ANori‘s mind was blown from the start, when an order of sushi omakase started with a magical plate: “I literally couldn’t believe what it looked like. It was a beautiful collection of vegetables and roots (lotus, of course, squash, kabocha pumpkin, mini-turnip, what used to be a carrot carved into a flower, a burdock root in which small matchsticks of celery were residing….). I mean REALLY beautiful.” Each vegetable had been poached in a completely different broth, for maximum vegetal uniqueness. “On the other side of the plate was a small glass (almost like a shot glass) filled with a taro/potato soup in which the chef had dropped small, just-seared scallops!!”

The best thing that night was tomato agedashi tofu. “I couldn’t believe how flavorful and delicious and creamy and interesting it was!” says ANori. Another highlight: Japanese conch. It came out as a conch shell wedged into a mound of salt. “Underneath the lip of the shell were three small hot pink rocks – on fire!!” says ANori. And inside was an incredible soup: conch and mushrooms, just perfect. “As the plate was set down, the soup slowly began to boil in the shell. The presentation and the quality taste of the broth – okay, I was just beginning to understand that I am definitively NOT in just a sushi restaurant.”

The sushi is quite good, but not exceptional against the background of LA’s sushi extravaganza. The truly amazing things here are the creative little small plates. Like: “squid sliced into ‘somen’ noodles and hung over a toothpick over a flavorful broth? Really?” says ANori. “Shunji’s passion and dedication are inspiring.” Warning: Many of the best dishes you can’t really guess at from the menu, which makes Shunji’s look like a normal sushi restaurant. You can order these little dishes separately, but really, you probably just want to go omakase.

Shunji’s [Mid-City]
7015 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles
323-933-6500

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