If you dine frequently in Quezon City’s “Scout” district and love Japanese cuisine, try the brand new Sushi Shokunin. Shokunin means craftsman or craftsman in English. Located at The Ignacia Place, # 62 Sgt. Avenue Esguerra cor. Mother Ignacia, Sushi Shokunin is owned by Chef Migs Flores, a culinary arts graduate who apprenticed at Benihana and Wagamama in Dubai until the COVID pandemic changed everything.
I got to know the place thanks to my daughter, who loves Japanese cuisine. She told me a few weeks ago that her classmate had opened a sushi restaurant where the food was delicious. Coincidentally, a friend was looking for a good Japanese restaurant nearby, so we decided to give it a try.
And it did not disappoint.
I asked Chef Migs what prompted him to open a Japanese restaurant in the midst of the pandemic, when many restaurants were closing. For him, it was about his passion and love for Japanese cuisine. Preparing Japanese dishes is an art, and it not only takes a lot of time and patience to master its techniques, but also to find the freshest ingredients to make each dish delicious.
Chief Migs had to return to Manila when the global situation worsened due to the pandemic. While stuck at home, he thought of an online food delivery service that would serve delicious, premium sushi delivered right to your door. When this business turned out to be successful, he was encouraged to open the restaurant after a few months. He wanted to see people gather around the dining table to enjoy the food he was preparing. He even added a teppanyaki table to entertain diners with his culinary prowess. It also helped that a cousin, who has a restaurant in the same building, told Migs there was a vacancy. The idea of him and his cousin running restaurants in the same building appealed to him.
When we arrived at the restaurant, Chef Migs and his sister Bianca warmly greeted us at the door. To start off we had the mixed luxury sashimi platter which included tuna, salmon, scallops, saba, uni, kani kama and unagi sashimi. It was so fresh, decadent and beautifully plated, I was in sashimi heaven!
We also had five different kinds of sushi: the Sushi Shokunin Special (the house’s special bun that brings an explosion of flavor and freshness with every bite. The bun had unagi, kani kama, shrimp tempura, tobiko with teriyaki sauce and spicy mayo on top and topped with a generous topping of tobiko); Tuna Flakes Roll (tuna sashimi and crispy tempura crumbs, all rolled with spicy mayonnaise and leeks); Flambé salmon roll (flambé salmon sashimi, cream cheese, kani kama, cucumber and ikura); Avocado Unagi Tempura Roll (avocado, unagi, kani kama, shrimp tempura, teriyaki sauce and black tobiko); and Crazy California Roll (orange tobiko, tempura crumbs, cream cheese, spicy mayonnaise, cucumber and kani kama). Everything we ordered tasted so good.
Even though I was almost full after the sashimi platter and sushi, I couldn’t stop because for me no Japanese meal is complete without shrimp tempura and fried rice. The tempura batter was light, the prawns were the perfect size, and the fried rice was tasty – all really delicious. Then came the dessert to die for: Tempura ice cream, vanilla ice cream coated with a cake batter then fried to perfection then served with frozen berries and drizzled with salted butter caramel. Yes, it was a sin, but every calorie was worth it.
As I ran out of room for his teppanyaki dishes, I promised Chef Migs that I would come back. I’m already looking forward to my return visit to Sushi Shokunin, and I’ll be sure to bring an even warmer appetite.