Tag Archives: Cathedral

Koy Shunka

17 Oct

Place: Koy Shunka

Address: Carrer Copons, 7

Meal Eaten: Dinner

Background: As I briefly mentioned in my post reviewing the sushi restaurant Shunka, the owners of the establishment recently opened the chic restaurant Koy Shunka on a nearby parallel street. I had spent the past couple of months reading praising reviews, as I listened to critics from TripAdvisor all the way to The New York Times talk about its standing as one of the top Japanese restaurants in all of Europe. Finally, blessed with the apparently unbeatable and very lucky combination of my girlfriend’s 21st birthday and her mother being in town to celebrate, I got my long-awaited chance to try it out for myself. Be advised to book a table in advance, as the restaurant reaches capacity virtually every night.

Setting: Much like its sister restaurant, Koy Shunka is situated on an tiny, quiet side street near the Cathedral of Barcelona. The entrance is unassuming, with several miniature sushi sculptures surrounding the menu outside its front door. The sushi bar and tables in front allow consumers a view of the kitchen, a feature becoming more and more popular in today’s restaurant world. The seating in the main portion of the restaurant in the back, where we sat, is very quiet.

Food/Price: Knowing that I had been waiting for this meal for quite awhile (and having starved myself all day), I leapt at the chance to order one of the two set daily menus (72 euros) offered by the restaurant. The menu featured both sushi and non-sushi Japanese specialties, including eel nigiri with a shiso leaf garnish (picture bottom left), several different cuts of tuna sashimi (bottom right), a mushroom based cold soup, Wagyu beef, tempura, and an assortment of sushi. See the pictures taken below for mouthwatering details. My girlfriend ordered the sushi combination plate (21 euros), which included seven pieces of sushi and two roll pieces (bottom center). Each of my seven courses were exquisite and truly delicious. The fatty tuna cuts from the tuna sashimi plate melted in my mouth, while I used the sheet of nori seaweed to scoop up the tuna tartare also included in the dish. The Wagyu beef was soft and marinated to perfection, and the final plate, the assortment of sushi, provided somewhat of a twist, as each piece was slightly seared to give off a bit of a smoky flavor to the fish (see following picture). 

Bottom Line: Koy Shunka is pricey. Very pricey. The a la carte portions are small, and, starting at 72 euros, the set menus are not exactly a bargain. The restaurant is critically acclaimed for good reason, however. Several times during the course of my set menu (which was more than enough food, by the way), I had the feeling that I was nibbling at art rather than consuming food. The dishes were meticulously prepared, often pairing a salty flavor with a sweet one, or offering several of the same type of fish in a radically different method, yielding various flavors. Koy Shunka lived up to my expectations as a top-notch inventive restaurant that I would be lucky enough to visit once.

Ratings:

Food: 9

Ambiance: 8

Cost: Depending on a la carte/set menu one/set menu two: 45 euros/80 euros/115 euros

Shunka

21 Sep

I had several doubts about the quality of the sushi in my hometown for the next few months, Barcelona, Spain. Having grown up in New York City, I have been privileged (and spoiled) to have experienced some of the freshest (and priciest) sushi in the world. In my first few weeks here, I have been rather surprised at the high quality of some of the restaurants I have visited for sushi. Most of my visits were the result of recommendations from friends, the popular website TripAdvisor, and further research on the internet. The first place I will write about in Barcelona is Shunka.

Place: Shunka

Address: Carrer Sagristans, 5

Meal Eaten: Weekend Lunch

Background: I chose to dine at Shunka based on its number one rating for sushi restaurants in Barcelona on TripAdvisor.com. People commended the freshness of the fish and commented that the restaurant was always crowded, good indicators of the restaurant´s quality.

Setting: Shunka is located on a sidestreet behind the Cathedral, and does not grab the attention of pedestrians. The entrance is non-descript, and the inside is decorated with the traditional sushi bar and several wooden tables, located in a few different rooms. Nothing fancy about the place, but it was pretty full on an off-peak hour for lunch and the reservation book was already full for that night.

Food/Price: I wanted to try a wide variety of sushi, so my friend and I ordered two different sushi options to share: the Chef´s Choice (21 euros) and the Assortment of Sushi (19 euros). The latter option consisted of a traditional spread of sushi pieces: tuna, salmon, shrimp, whitefish, and eel with a split salmon and tuna roll. The Chef´s Choice (see picture) confirmed the reviews that I had read about the restaurant´s authenticity: there were several different types of shrimp, including a cooked shrimp head, as well as a few pieces considered to be of a high value: scallop, salmon roe, and fatty tuna. This dish is not for the sushi amateur – the taste of the fish was undoubtedly fresh and authentic, but only for the experienced palate. The various tastes melted gently in the mouth, and the ratio of fish to rice on each piece was perfect. The portions were also rather small (5 pieces of sushi and a few roll pieces). As a sidenote, the non-sushi dishes that we ordered, most notably the Udon Soup, were equally delicious.

Bottom Line:  Shunka is a must-try authentic restaurant for sushi-lovers, with a well-deserved reputation of having some of the freshest fish in Barcelona. Based on the quality and price of the fish, it will best suit those craving a small yet delectable meal, and not those hoping to come out feeling stuffed.

Additional Note: Shunka recently opened a sister restaurant, Koy Shunka, which has also received excellent reviews. This establishment focuses on a wider variety of Japanese non-sushi dishes, and the ambiance is slightly more upscale. There is a set menu available, though it is quite pricey (72 euros).

Ratings (Out of 10):

Food: 8.5

Ambiance: 7.25

Cost of Meal for One Person: 35 euros