[‘80s-ERA SUSHI] One of exurban Portland’s best-kept secrets is in a Sherwood strip mall. That’s Crazy Sushi, well-known on the southwestern fringe for serving some of the metro area’s finest affordable fish. It is, however, quite a haul. So be glad of Shoten, owner-chef Ki Moon’s new restaurant, which opened just a few months ago a warm-up jog west of Nike headquarters in Beaverton. The dining room is immaculate, its dark surfaces generously spaced. Along one wall runs a string of album covers from late-‘70s and early ‘80s pop and rock, fitting because Chris de Burgh’s “Lady in Red” is playing on the speakers. The service is excellent in a way that reminds you that, on some level, you still remember what it’s like to be treated well. The menu flies from noodles (ramen, yakisoba, udon) to bar food (gyoza, baby octopus tempura) with lots of small-plate options and a few wildcards (whole pike mackerel, fried kimchee with pork belly, unagi rice bowl). The kitchen dishes I’ve tried are good, but sushi is the real gem: thick chunks of fish draped over tender rice that melt on your tongue. The pepper albacore tuna ($14) has a light sear that balances perfectly with Shoten’s virgin nigiri. Regarding the nigiri, it’s hard to pick a favorite, though chef Sang Park is proud of his baby yellowtail for good reason.
Tempura soft-shell crab, the large sashimi moriwase, a couple orders of chef’s choice sushi, and, for dessert, an orange with mango sauce that looks vaguely like the Radiohead logo. If you’re there with a party of four or more (and you should be), get the Monkey Brain (which is not a monkey brain).
The sizzling rice skillet combo ($9.95 at dinner), which is large and saucy and delicious. It also comes with five large chunks of sashimi.
While Shoten boasts a host of Americanized rolls, options with crab mix can be on the heavy side. Stick with the traditional here, not to be snobby, but because it’s better.