We love seeing the large old family photo on the wall near the host station—generations of smiling faces at their home in the South Capitol neighborhood. Shohko and Hiro Fukuda started this downtown eatery in 1975, the city's first Japanese restaurant, and Shokho works most days alongside daughters Iba and Ayame in the restaurant and, from a distance, Mika. The Japanese fare served in a historic downtown setting is clean and remarkable. When we're choosing among the city's sushi offerings, Shohko is always at the top of the list. Chefs work in an open kitchen, visible to diners behind a glowing counter with the fish displayed behind glass. Lunchtime bento boxes and hot noodles are also crowd-pleasers, and of course maki rolls are made for sharing. Our favorites include the premium rainbow roll with tuna, whitefish, salmon, shrimp and avocado with cucumber ($18) and the spicy tuna roll with daikon radish cucumber ($10). Don't think about sharing the salmon skin hand roll, however. It's both a logistical and moral challenge. You can't and you won't want to. Thick pieces of crispy skin with wedges of meat still clinging on are married with daikon radish sprouts, burdock root and cucumber in a seaweed wrapper ($6). The building was a 19th century bordello, and its thick walls and shaded windows offer calm respite. We love the combination of history and current moments that make up the experience of dining here.

Lunch and Dinner
Tuesday-Saturday

.$$.

Shohko Café
321 Johnson St.,
505-982-9708

Instagram: @shohko_cafe