Local taste's dream of suhi 2024
7 years ago, Tokyo Table Trip’s chief editor wrote a comprehensive article ’20 sushi restaurants in Tokyo ran by Promising Young Chefs.’ There’s plethora of food bloggers. But only a few sushi connoisseurs who have my respect. Leo Saito is one of a few.
7 years have passed, Tokyo Table Trip’s readers can see some of them already got into elite sushi chef status and visiting them are quite impossible. Some of them became so popular. This pretty much confirms Leo’s prediction stand through the test of time of nearly a decade.
When Tokyo Table Trip’s chief editor suggested the idea that I should write about sushi restaurant myself too, I couldn’t be more nervous because there’s still so much more to learn about sushi. In my sushi series, it would be my take on sushi in Japan.
Out of all Sushi Saito’s alumni, one of the top candidates for the next sushi master is Hashiba Shunji from Sushi Saito’s school. Among other alumni like Takao Ishiyama and Jun Takahashi, I felt the potential of Hashiba san’s sushi.
While at Sushi Saito, he got many fans and booking his counter was extremely difficult. Back then, his nigiri was pretty high level already so I couldn’t be more excited to visit Sushi Shunji after letting him settling down into his new restaurant which is located in the same building in Moto azabu as the old L’equator.
For any new restaurants, they need some time to smooth out all of kinks and discover their own voices.
As I walked up from Roppongi and the road leading to the restaurant was quite hilly, I realized how the old age catching up on me. For anyone visiting Sushi Shunji, I recommend preparing extra time to find the building.
After arriving, I was escorted into a room with L shape counter. Sushi Shunji got more staff than any average newly open sushi ya. His wife also joins him, together with some staff so it’s not a typical husband and wife kind of operation. His wife was the sommelier at L’equator so the style is pretty much in the style of L’equator and suit lavish diners.
When I visited, all guests were all Japanese.
In contrary to my dinner at Hashiba san’s counter at Sushi Saito where they serve typical otsumami like small dish of uni, boiled octopus, grilled scallops, sashimi, or grilled fish in dashi before nigiri, the small dish at Sushi Shunji started with lid dish with vegetables and enoki. This was more of a kappo kind of dish, rather than the one served at sushi ya. I found this enoki dish too salty and lack of balance. As kappo and kaiseki are my favorite cuisines, I’m quite a purist when it comes to my meal.
Next small dish was steamed fish on rice following by a spoon of caviar. For all readers who read my article, I’m not a fan of caviar to begin with anyway. So I’m not easily impressed merely by the sight of caviar being served. Also, I felt a spoon of caviar, no matter how good the caviar is would be useless after a salty small dish.
The last small dish was another fish dish.
I was relieved when the nigiri part began as I remembered Hashiba san’s nigiri is one of the best if not the best. The neta was elegantly cut and place precisely on the plate, in the style of Saito’s style. Extra-large calm was also on display so the diners can see the preparation.
In this dinner course, there were 14 pieces of nigiri. Hashiba san takes pride in his rice quality and his raw material. His nigiri was high level. The taste is quite pure and light. His kohada was well balanced. I did enjoy his tuna and sujiko. His umi maki also got lots of uni, row and rows of uni. Surprisingly, my mind wasn’t blew away by the amount of uni he put into this futomaki. Maybe being old makes it difficult to be impressed by anything like mountain of uni.
According to Hashiba san’s wife, booking can be made through omakase website which they release seats periodically.
In conclusion, nigiri part was enjoyable. Neta is high quality. I think Sushi Shunji would suit diners who love expensive alcohols or loves high end champagne. If you like lavish sushi dinner with expensive alcohols, you should give Sushi Shunji a visit.
Localtaste embarked on a culinary odyssey long before the dawn of social media, traversing the globe from the Far East to the West, exploring over 160 cities across four continents, covering more than 400,000 miles in the past four decades.
His gastronomic journey has led him to thousands of restaurants, ranging from humble hole-in-the-wall eateries in Asia to the pinnacle of fine dining at Michelin 3-star restaurants in Europe and North America. Over the course of more than 4 decades, he has relentlessly pursued various culinary genres.
Despite not being in the food industry or a professional food writer, Localtaste's exclusive articles can be found solely on tokyotabletrip.com. This gesture serves as a tribute to Leo Saito's altruistic mission of helping international visitors uncover the exquisite beauty of Japanese cuisine.
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