What’s on the menu at Shunoko, a new omakase spot from the owners of Sushi Nomi

What’s on the menu at Shunoko, a new omakase spot from the owners of Sushi Nomi

Name: Shunoko
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)

The food

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.

Kim places a big emphasis on sourcing seasonal fish, so the menu changes monthly. He’s really excited for Portuguese sardines to come into season, as they’re one of his favourites. Fish is flown in from Japan, Portugal, Greece and New Zealand.


Making wasabi paste.


Kim makes his own umeboshi (pickled plums) because he didn’t like any of the ready-made options he could buy here. “It has great floral aroma so I like to serve just a little bit in a shooter glass at the end of the omakase meal,” says Kim.


Uni, which could be included in the omakase.


This spicy tuna-avocado maki is rolled in popped rice and topped with toasted coconut. $10.


Sushi Saiko: nine types of nigiri served with a spicy tuna roll. This was the most popular item at Sushi Nomi. The sushi is arranged from lightest to heaviest, starting from the left and each piece is brushed with right amount of soy sauce. (Kim recommends eating the sushi before the roll.) $25.


Can’t Go Wrong: a house roll made with shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, asparagus with blow-torched spicy scallop, tobiko and green onion. $15.


The sashimi platter changes depending on availability. This one includes tuna, ocean perch, fluke, yellowtail, amberjack, striped jack, striped bass, Japanese half beak, octopus (Kim says they massage it for one hour before boiling it, so the kitchen staff really hates when an octopus shipment comes in), horse mackerel, red sea bream, sea bass, salmon, golden eye snapper and salmon roe.


A poke sushi bowl mixes various sashimi with garlic oil, sesame oil and ponzu. It’s served on top of rice and veggies. $19.


Salmon marinated in saikyo miso. $19.


Left to right: black sesame creme brulée ($5), matcha panna cotta ($6) and kinako (soybean) panna cotta ($6). All three desserts are made by Kim’s wife, Amy Park.


Kim, with a Spanish mackerel friend.


Kim, in Bobblehead form.


Left to right: Levi Kim, Jun Kim and James Yoo.


The drinks

Shunoko is unlicensed, but green and oolong teas are on offer, along with Japanese soft drinks like Calpico.

The space

“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.