Junko Sushi (33-02 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11106)
(718) 777-1588 Free Delivery
Just as promised on their Facebook Page, Junko Sushi officially opened its doors to the public yesterday, offering a delicious new sushi alternative for a neighborhood that is anything but saturated with quality offerings.
Pronounced "Joon'-Koh", the word is a traditional female Japanese name meaning "pure child." The restaurant takes over the space formerly occupied by the ill-fated Astoria outpost of Moonstruck Diner. The ambiance is decidedly simplistic, ergo very Japanese. Service was warm and attentive.
While the menu boasts several Japanese (and Thai, actually) influenced entrees, the focus is definitely on the sushi. Lunch specials ranging from $5.95 to $11.95 feature everything from Thai Mango shrimp to pan-seared tuna soba, yaki udon, and create-your-own-roll combos.
Enticing appetizers run the gamut from Kumomoto oysters (5 for $10) to crispy duck ($9.95) and grilled lemongrass prawns ($9.50) to the standard shumai ($4.50) and gyoza ($4.50). Anxious to try some of the Thai offerings, we started with the lobster ravioli. The flavors were subtle enough to enjoy the lobster filling with a sweet kick of thai chili sauce (4 large pieces for $8.95).
The pan-fried Thai crab cake with orange curry and passion fruit sauce deliciously resembled more of a tropical seafood pancake masala, with sweet, tart, and spicy fusing in soft patty of crab meat and seasonings ($8.95).
The Junko's Special Rolls were so intriguing we skipped over the standard rolls to sample some of the creative combinations. First was the Dancing Shrimp Roll ($12.95) with shrimp tempura and lobster wrapped in slivers of mango and avocado, drizzled with orange curry reduced balsamic, passion fruit, and eel sauce. It was deliciously addictive, and a roll I would certainly order again.
My lunch date ordered the Lover's Roll, also with steamed fresh lobster, this time wrapped with sundried tomato, cucumber, asparagus and topped with caviar ($14.95).
To simply enjoy fresh fish without much masking, we also sampled the Hako Sushi--Osaka-style "pressed" spicy tuna, topped with Tuna, Salmon, and White tuna. It was subtle, simple, and exceptional for a neighborhood sushi spot ($11.95).
Most classic rolls range from $3.50 (avocado or oshinko) to $7 (king crab avocado) with the average clearly falling around $5 (salmon jalapeno). Adventurous eaters can experiment with raspberry sauces and curry rolls, while more conservative diners can stick to yellowtail or pumpkin tempura.
Kitchen entrees run from $10.95 for tofu & vegetable terriyaki to conch with XO sauce ($18.95) and steamed lobster ($22.95).
Sweet endings include mochi and tempura ice cream.
They've barely been open 24 hours, but please comment below with your initial impressions...