About Shiro Restaurant

A customer once asked: "Just what is the secret to the cooking?"

It started with a tomato....

Our customers know that the Restaurant Shiro philosophy is to pair subtle, yet perfect sauces with only the best ingredients.

Our founder, Hideo Yamashiro ("Shiro") was born in Okinawa, Japan where he learned the pleasures of a real, home grown, vine-ripened tomato. His passion for such subtleties led him to open Restaurant Shiro in 1987.

Following a similar path, Luis Alfonso Ortega Banuelos, affectionately known to all as "Mota" came to cooking through his mother in Valparaiso, Zacatecas, Mexico. As one of seven children, Mota learned to cook early and well.

In 2004, first server, then long time Manager Sherrill Bailey, along with Irene Yokoi and Chef Mota became owners of Shiro Restaurant.

Now Chef de Cuisine, Mota carries on the philosophy and aesthetic of Shiro, allowing simplicity to let the magic of ingredients shine, as well as adding personal touches that exemplify the beauty of his own heritage. He continues the old school tradition of personally handpicking only the exceptional for inclusion in his dishes.

Early in the morning Chef Mota personally travels to the downtown Los Angeles fish market. If the fish isn't perfect, it isn't bought. Restaurants much more expensive, with much fancier presentations often just do not put such outstanding ingredients on the plate. It shows: Shiro customers become spoiled to the point that many will not order fish anywhere else.

While the restaurant is renowned for providing exquisite seafood, one should not miss items such as our prime charbroiled Ribeye and prime Filet Mignon (sourced from one of Los Angeles' best butchers, Alexander's Prime Meats, where the meat is dry-aged in-house for 3 weeks). There are absolutely stunning char-broiled lamb chops marinated in rosemary and garlic. And, by popular demand the menu nightly features a sauteed Tofu Steak with vegetables and olive oil sauce for vegetarian patrons.


Many order the whole sizzling catfish served with a ponzu sauce and piles of cilantro. Restaurant critic Merrill Shindler says:

" [T]his is one fish you just can't stop eating .... The fish arrives on a massive platter, with shards of ginger protruding from its exceedingly crisp skin. It is, simply speaking, the best catfish anywhere. It may be the best fish for that matter -- I can't think of another fish in town where I try to eat the bones after I finish with the meat."

Don't just be seduced by the catfish, however. Depending on availability, you might find a tuna or snapper carpaccio...or check out the truly amazing Truffle Ravioli or the glorious Chinese ravioli filled with salmon mousse and shrimp, served with a smoked salmon sauce or a shiitake mushroom sauce; perfectly cooked foie gras with poached pear and a port wine reduction sauce, or absolutely marvelous sweetbreads with a shiitake mushroom sauce.

When impeccable fresh tuna is available, it is prepared just seared. Customers constantly ask when it will be on the menu, and the answer is: only when the tuna is perfect.

Desserts are also a delight. Chef Mota carries on Shiro's French roots. Imagine baked figs and vanilla ice cream with an unaccountably delicious balsamic vinegar sauce or the best creme brulee you may ever have. Or the house specialty of crispy wonton skins with poached pears and raspberry sauce.

Wonton Dessert

Once you have sampled the sheer joy of the exquisite ingredients, dining elsewhere may never be the same.

Even on your first visit you will be treated as friends. Come to Shiro's for the food, not for haughty service.

"This restaurant . . . it's special. Going other places can be stressful. Never here. It's always a comfort. The food is perfect. And you're always treated well."

-- A totally unsolicited comment overheard at Restaurant Shiro