Zagat has said: "Everything is made with superb ingredients' that comprise a 'minimalist (but actually complex) cuisine.'" and "If God cooked fish, this is how it would taste."
This very much sums up Shiro where, for "Only the BEST" should be the motto. The chef personally gets up early in the morning and journeys to the Los Angeles fish market to choose the best possible fish for the restaurant. If an ingredient isn't good enough, it isn't bought.
Such dedication to excellence is rarely found, but it has paid off in the many accolades received by the restaurant
Just one year after opening in 1986, Shiro's entered the top 15 restaurants (for food - "extraordinary to perfection") in the highly acclaimed Zagat Guide and has remained there ever since. In 1996 the restaurant was rated number 1 for food in all of Los Angeles. After all these years, Shiro was still rated #5 in 2011 and #2 for service in 2013.
"The cuisine at Shiro reflects a beautiful Japanese simplicity, its clean ingredients of the Pacific subtly enhanced by classical French cooking techniques and sauces. In the tradition of a truly accomplished kitchen, the menu changes nightly, but the integrity of this theme unfailingly remains intact."
"Shiro, a . . . bistro unaccountably tucked into a midwestern-looking South Pasadena streetscape, serves so much of this ponzu-steeped [catfish] that it might as well rename itself Shiro: The House of Sizzling Catfish. Its version of the dish -- imagine a whole catfish the size of the shark from Jaws stuffed with ginger and fried to a crisp -- is everything you could ever want from a bottom feeder.
Los Angeles Times
"Shiro is, genuinely, one of the restaurants that make life in Southern California so very . . . livable."
Dining with Merrill Shindler
"Last week in Monterey, I ate in a restaurant that all the foodies love. (In the latest Zagat guide for San Francisco, it rates 26 points, the same as Campton Place and Chez Panisse.) . . . . I ordered lobster ravioli in a cream-drenched sauce. As I tasted the overstuffed, oversauced little packets, I kept thinking to myself, 'If only these were as good as the Chinese ravioli filled with shrimp and salmon mousse that I ate at Restaurant Shiro a couple of days ago.'"
Ruth Reichl for the Los Angeles Times
". . . anyone who appreciates the freshest of fish, sensitively cooked and dressed with artful sauces, should seek out this rewarding restaurant."
"The seafood salads; the whole catfish in ponzu sauce; the fresh fish in simple, flawless French sauces; and the pretty desserts . . . . A bargain by expensive-restaurant standards.
"We should have many Shiros (the restaurant) in the suburbs. There are pitifully few that come close. There probably would be plenty of them if only we could dig up more Shiros (the chef)."
" . . . the perfect city restaurant in the suburbs."
"When I was 16, I was working at a hospital for a summer. A salesman came and took our office out to a nice dinner at Shiros. I loved it, it was the first really nice restaurant I'd ever been to. I completely forgot the name of it and then ten years later I went back last night. I didn't have a clue it was the same restaurant until I saw your catfish. You were classy then and you're still classy now. So thank you for not changing and bringing back an old, treasured memory."
--Received from a customer
[S]ervice was impeccable. There are just some places that always make you feel welcome and at ease, with a nicety that borders on too good to be true if not for the absolute sincerity they deliver with . . . this place has all the potential to be stuffy and pretentious, but it is clearly not. I rarely talk about the service, fully believing it is 90% about the food, but the staff here are just impeccable. Food of course, is always great. We ordered everything off their specials menu: uni pasta with caviar, their famous truffled ravioli and their sea bass . . . . We couldn't stop debating which dish was our favorite. They were all so good. The hand made pastas were flawless. The truffle richly decadent. And the sea bass, delicate and perfectly seasoned. every bite was delight from beginning to end.