Your dog graduated from obedience school. You finally kept a plant alive for more than a month. It’s Paula Abdul’s birthday. These are all insignificant reasons to celebrate - sorry, Paula - but they’re three excuses you’ll consider making just to go to back to Ju-Ni after your first visit.
This tiny, 12-seat sushi counter in NoPa is the epitome of somewhere you file away for a special occasion. The 18-course meal is $155 (without drinks or extra dishes), it takes at least two hours, and the staff is both super accommodating and happy to walk you through each step of the meal. And unlike a lot of other high-end sushi places, the space itself - with it’s white walls and large windows - feels much brighter and warmer than you’d expect. This is our favorite omakase sushi meal in the city and while the space and service contribute to this, the reason you come here is for the incredible food.
Ju-Ni serves super traditional sushi and each dish is both simple and flawless. They source the highest quality fish, all of which is placed atop absolutely perfect sushi rice. Not too sticky, not too dry, and just the littlest hint of vinegar, it’s probably the best sushi rice we’ve ever had. Of all the bites - and there are a lot - the unagi, salmon roe with shaved monkfish, and charred toro with caviar are the three that most stand out. And while the other 15 dishes do somewhat blend together, there’s never a lull over the course of the meal. There’s also a supplemental menu with things like Wagyu beef available once you’re done with your 18 courses. But unless you fasted for several days beforehand, you won’t need it.
This is not somewhere you pop into on a whim when Wikipedia informs you that it’s the 134th anniversary of the invention of the fountain pen. You need to make a reservation at Ju-Ni - usually about a month out - and we’d suggest trying for the later, 8:30pm slot of the two nightly reservation windows so you don’t feel rushed. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s also the best sushi we’ve had in a very long time. And even if the only thing you can find to celebrate in 30 days is Harold and Maude finally being available on Netflix, that’s still reason enough to make a reservation here.
Your meal starts with just a spoonful of crab and it’s excellent.
King salmon is only in season in the summer and you should try to get to Ju-Ni while it’s still on the menu because it’s phenomenal. The soy cure isn’t overpowering and the fish has just the lightest sear on it that brings out the flavor.
Just in case this piece of fatty tuna wasn’t enough for you, it’s topped with a dollop of caviar, which adds a nice salty kick on top of the rich toro.
A mountain of roe topped with shaved, frozen monkfish. You eat it in one bite and it’s perfect.
Barbecued in a slightly sweet sauce, this eel is salty, sweet, and one of the most memorable bites you’ll have here.