La Verne’s newest sushi restaurant, Shota Sushi and Grill, offers sashimi, sushi and a variety of appetizers in various sizes and styles.
Shota resides in the space that previously held Nancy’s Pizza. While the theme of the restaurant has changed, the decor and furniture has not changed, the red brick walls and red vinyl booths were holdovers through the transition. To shift the motif the wall art was changed from pictures of beer brands and traditional Italian cooking to pictures of sushi rolls.
Shota’s menu is entirely a la carte, so those seeking all-you-can-eat look elsewhere. Individual two-piece sushi plates range from eel ($4), to foie gras, a fattened duck liver and amaebi, a sweet-shrimp ($14). They also have various tuna, salmon, and fish options available.
Plating and presentation plays a large role in the dining experience of Shota. They offer appetizers, and sashimi in what they refer to as a “Box of Dreams,” a dark brown wooden box divided into nine cubes, which each hold a small white plate with a different item.
The starter Box of Dreams ($16) comes with nine tapas size appetizers including fried tofu, slices of cajun tuna, edamame, seaweed salad and more.
A sashimi Box of Dreams ($30) is also available, in the same immaculate boxed presentation but with small servings of various types of tuna, salmon and shrimp.
The sushi rolls and entrees come with various adornments and aesthetic enhancements. The Salmon Battera ($11), Shota’s signature roll that had pressed salmon in the middle and seared salmon on top, was served with an empty soy sauce dish that was on fire as the server brought it to our table.
Other plates served throughout the restaurant had banana leaves, small shrubs and sauces fancily draped alongside rolls.
On the more decadent side – although Shota does not have all-you-can-eat it does not mean that you can not get excessive amounts of raw fish. Shota has a premium lobster sashimi boat ($128) served in what looks like the top of a wooden barrel it features sashimi, oysters, amaebi, and uni.
All of this was sitting in a beautiful arrangement topped with a rose – as if it were a grave for all the fish that went into making it.
Some incarnations of the lobster sashimi boat have came with an ice sculpture. I suggest ordering it just so you can see what piece of visual art will accompany your $100 dish.
For those who do not enjoy seafood, Shota offers several bento boxes with chicken and beef choices including teriyaki, chicken, katsu and even a tofu option.
The bento boxes all come with California rolls, miso soup, a tempura option and dessert.
It is hard to asses the level of freshness of sushi, but every piece of sushi served at Shota was beautifully cut and prepared and tasted like some of the freshest fish I have ever ordered.
For a sushi restauraunt Shota has more dessert options than you would expect; including a soybead pudding ($5), a matcha mousse ($6) or mochi ice cream ($3).
Overall La Verne’s newest sushi spot taught me a thing or two about the benefits of a-la-carte ordering.
Michael Sprague can be reached at email@example.com.