What is missing in my part of town is a neighbourhood sushi joint serving quality fresh fish and seafood, at good value with friendly service. When Asuka on Yorkville closed it was a big disappointment for many. Now I have to drive somewhere for my fix. I found such a place that fits the bill, and even surpasses my expectations, called Shunoko, at 1201 St. Clair Avenue West. If you are looking for a high end, traditional experience, then this is not for you. If you are looking for a restaurant that offers fun, creative, inventive and affordable fusion rolls, in a clean, minimalist atmosphere, then I think you will be very pleased.
Opened for about a year, this 40 seat minimalist establishment is finished in pleasing blond woods and white brick. The sushi counter is the main focus, and it is where I like to sit.
The Executive Chef is Jun Kim, who trained in his uncle’s sushi restaurant in Korea. But don’t let that throw you off. Offering over 20 kinds of fish, most flown in from Japan’s Tsukiji Market. The focus here is sushi, and sashimi, but they also offer cold, and hot dishes as well. In addition to Chef Kim, the kitchen is also in the capable hands of Levi Kim and James Yoo.
Two of my favourite maki rolls are the Coconut Spicy Tuna, with spicy tuna, avocado, and popped rice, topped with toasted coconut, and the “Can’t Go Wrong” maki, a roll consisting of shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, asparagus, torched spicy scallop, tobiko, and green onion on top. The chef was willing to do a few customized rolls for us as well. The names of some of the rolls are clever, like the Spidey, a delicious soft shell crab roll, Butter on Fire, and the Dynamic Dynamite.
They also offer a separate lunch menu, with rice “don” bowls, and special priced sushi, sashimi, maki plates, which are optional to the regular menu. Shunoko also offers Omakase options. Chef’s selection of 10, 12, or 15 pieces or a special meal that must be ordered in advance.
When you arrive you are poured green tea, but there is also beer and sake and wine on offer. You can request a 4oz pour, or a half or full bottle.
There are a handful of desserts. We had a special of black sesame brûlée that was delicious. The desserts are made by the chef’s wife, Amy Park.
This delightful spot is open 7 days a week. Lunch is served Wednesday to Sunday, and dinner every night.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, shhh don’t tell anyone … If this restaurant had a downtown location, they could be charging a lot more for their rolls.