Emily J. Sullivan
So where do you find the best sushi in town? I tried five of La Verne’s most poppin’ sushi joints and this is what I discovered.
Aoki Japanese Restaurant in downtown La Verne at 2307 D St., just a hop and a skip from the University of La Verne campus, is likely everyone’s first go-to when asked, “where can I find some decent sushi around here?” But here is the thing – the sushi is far from decent.
Yelp gives the Japanese restaurant 3.5 stars, generous considering the fishy, plastic-like salmon sashimi that topped my stale crunchy shrimp tempura roll when I tried it out recently.
Aoki’s was the first sushi in my long and substantial sushi history where I did not finish my roll and threw it away.
Fukuya Sushi, located at 2084 Foothill Blvd. in La Verne, about a four-minute drive from the ULV campus, also scores 3.5 stars with Yelp, which I’d say is an accurate rating.
The fish here was fresh and tasty but the rolls were over-sauced.
When the sushi chef handed me my roll on a wooden platter, it was a glorious sight, but a messy undertaking.
The soy and ponzu drenched the roll, spilling off the sides of the platter.
I had to try and eat my roll as quickly as possible because it grew soggier by the minute, the rice falling apart between the time I picked it up with my chopsticks and transferred it to my mouth.
I ended up leaving with sauce all over my phone and wrists.
The sushi here would have received a thumbs up from me had it not been saturated with sauce to the point of disarray.
Shogun Restaurant located at 2123 Foothill Blvd. in La Verne, is a teppan grill and sushi bar.
I ordered the Shogun fave roll combo, a plate that includes four pieces of the eel special roll, kamikaze roll and crunchy dragon roll along with soup and salad.
The crunchy dragon roll, a classic sushi bar favorite, is a shrimp tempura roll topped with spicy tuna. It was great.
The kamikaze roll was tasty but nothing mind-blowing, and the eel special roll was a little iffy.
The sushi here was fine. I wish I had a better adjective, but “fine” really defines my take-away most appropriately.
Wabi Sabi Teppan Steak and Sushi Bar located just up Fruit Street near the 210 freeway at 2345 Foothill Blvd. in La Verne, is fabulous.
The sushi menu itself offers great pairings as far as the roll construction is concerned.
The sushi rolls are made nice and tight, with nothing falling apart before it hits your lips.
The fish is fresh, the rolls are made quickly and expertly, and the rolls come with the perfect amount of sauce and crunch.
They also have fun items like the sushi burrito, which is made with soy paper – it looks like a burrito but it is filled with spicy tuna, crab, rice, shrimp tempura and avocado.
It comes with a great sauce for dipping as well.
I could go on and on raving about the sushi at Wabi Sabi.
It is far and away the best sushi close to the ULV campus.
Shota Sushi, located at 2855 Foothill Blvd., about three minutes north-east of the ULV campus, blew me away.They just opened up in 2018, coming to La Verne from Vancouver, Canada.
Man, are we La Vernians lucky because Shota Sushi brought La Verne a real gem.
The lunch special included a special roll and a side of my choosing – the spicy tuna sashimi, soup and a salad.
It was only $11, which was a complete steal.
I would have paid $25 for the dishes I received.
The establishment itself feels like a fine dining take on your classic sushi joint, but with prices that might reflect a happy hour menu.
Everything I received was perfectly crafted, the fish was fresh and delicious, the sashimi had me making “mmm’s” and other various gobble noises, the presentation was gorgeous – it was fantastic.
Oh, and order a Thai tea.
Without a doubt, the battle of the La Verne sushi bars was a blast. I had sushi every day for a week and enjoyed almost every bite – sorry, Aoki.
I highly recommend Wabi Sabi and Shota Sushi for your sushi dining pleasure.
Emily J. Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com.