What’s on the menu at Shunoko, a new omakase spot from the owners of Sushi Nomi
Contact: 1201 St. Clair Ave. W., 647-748-7288, shunoko.com
Neighbourhood: Corso Italia
Owners: Jun Kim and Amy Park
Chefs: Jun Kim, James Yoo (both of Sushi Nomi) and Levi Kim (Japango)
When he was 18, Jun Kim dropped out of high school. His plan: return to his native Korea to master the art of sushi making. Why not go to Japan to study? Well, he didn’t know the language, and he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his sushi-chef dad, who trained at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul. “My dad told me that if you never touch a fish, you will never understand its true freshness, so I went back to Korea, worked in my uncle’s restaurant and killed a bunch of live fish,” says Kim, who ran the now-closed Sushi Nomi on Roncesvalles for five years. “If it wasn’t for my dad, I would never have the standards and devotion that I have now,” says Kim. “But I could never work with my dad—he was like Korean Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen!”
The lack of space at Sushi Nomi made it impossible for Kim to offer omakase. “I wanted to provide the real experience of a sushi counter; it’s good to have no barrier between a customer and their chef,” says Kim. He takes delight in introducing people to lesser-known fish like Japanese half beak, horse mackerel, and fluke. At Shunoko, the 18-course omakase menu ($90) includes dessert, soup and salad. Now that Kim has a real kitchen, he’s expanded the hot food portion of his menu to include plates like black cod marinated in saikyo miso and maple-miso pork.
Shunoko is unlicensed, but green and oolong teas are on offer, along with Japanese soft drinks like Calpico.
“I wanted it to feel you’re like walking into the home of a Japanese friend,” says Kim who hired Design the 8 to decorate the 41-seat room. The minimalist space, done up with wood and white brick, directs all of the focus toward the sushi counter.