July 15, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Westside Sushi Restaurant Located in Historic Building Plans Move

Shunji planning move to Ocean Park Boulevard 

By Kerry Slater

A Michelin-Starred sushi restaurant–located in an architecturally unique West LA building embroiled in a debate over its historic status–is reportedly relocating to Santa Monica. 

As reported by Eater LA, Shunji chef-owner Shunji Nakao seems to be planning to move the restaurant–currently at 12244 West Pico Boulevard–to 3003 Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica. Eater notes that the move is likely a relocation, not an expansion, due to a longtime dispute between the city, local stakeholders and the property owner–who wants to tear down the architecturally-unique, circular building that currently houses Shunji. 

The Japanese-born sushi maestro behind the counter—Nakao—previously worked at Nobu Matsuhisa’s eponymous 1980’s restaurant and restaurant Asanebo as well which he founded with his brother.

 Sushi simplicity at Shunji. Photo: Shunji (Facebook).

“While the menu does offer à la carte, it is the omakase that is by far the better option. The itamae will ask how much you’d like to eat, and so begins this memorable meal. The slicing and crafting of each morsel is absolutely precise, as seen in red snapper with salt and lemon; halibut with yuzu zest; or even that massive bite of rich monkfish liver. While the house-made texturally exquisite tomato “tofu” features four tomatoes and takes four days to prepare, it flaunts impeccable balance in acid and flavor—not unlike those nikiri-brushed pieces, like lean tuna or bluefin toro. In an unusual turn, meals here are sealed by such stellar soups as shiso with special seaweed,” reads the Michelin review bestowing Shunji a prestigious star. “Although this revered refuge is housed in a curious-looking building, just off Highway 10, guests arrive expecting serious sushi. Of course, that’s exactly what they get, though the atmosphere remains low-key with just a small bar and handful of tables.” 

Since 2012 Shunji has been located in a building known as The Chili Bowl at 12244 West Pico Boulevard, one of five remaining former Chili Bowl restaurant chain. Of the surviving Chili Bowls, the West Los Angeles location is the most intact and has operated nearly continuously as an eatery, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy

On February 4, 2021 Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee will vote to consider sending the Chili Bowl nomination to the full City Council for Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) designation. 

in Dining, News
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