• shojin downtown

    July 5th, 2008quarrygirlLA restaurants, shojin

    i never hang out in downtown los angeles, it’s too far to drive and until recently i didn’t think there was much going on there that would interest me. boy, was i wrong! last weekend we headed to the city to check out an art exhibit at moca and had the opportunity to try out 2 great new bars, and most importantly, a new vegan restaurant. shojin!

    seitan katsu curry: slow cooked vegetable curry served with home-made seitan cutlet and brown rice. $15.95

    shojin style bento box: three kinds of shojin traditional vegetable dishes, brown rice and garden seitan ball with home-made all natural ketchup. $16.95

    i’ve read some rave reviews of shojin, i’m talking fulsome adulation, on yelp and other vegan blogs alike. people can’t seem to get enough of this place! now before you accuse me of adding to the shojinmania, let me say that while i definitely enjoyed my dinner and will certainly be back, i found the place to be a bit over-hyped and over-priced. that aside, the food was delicious!

    we started our meal with the detox elixir (we had to cleanse our systems of all that IPA) which was a drink of ginger, cayenne and other fine ingredients. i highly recommend this—tasty as hell with a spicy bite.

    our waiter was super-friendly…maybe a little too friendly. he kept checking on us, and his english wasn’t great, so at times communication was a little awkward. that’s alright though, his kindness more than made up for it.

    i ordered the shojin style bento box, and when i asked the waiter which vegetables it came with (some produce makes me recoil in horror), he responded, “vegetables”. i thought, aw fuck it…i don’t want to spend the rest of my life having this conversation, and blindly ordered the bento box without knowing its contents. luckily, when it arrived it was void of bell peppers or anything else that i find disgusting. it included an eggplant mixture, pumpkin with seeds, and some type of mashed up okra. all of it was tasty, but the okra was AMAZING. i wish i could have had just 3 portions of that. so yummy. also, the seitan balls that i chose as an entrée were delicious. crispy and fried, but not oily. full of flavor, plump and crunchy. the three balls were eaten in exactly three seconds. i can’t say i was disappointed with the bento box, but at a whopping $16.95 it made me promise myself i’d try something new next time.

    mr. meaner ordered the seitan katsu curry, which was also delicious…but it didn’t come with any vegetables! we spend the meal wondering if we should ask the waiter if it was a mistake. could some rice and a piece of seitan really cost $15.95? would they really serve a curry dish without carrots, broccoli, squash, anything? we decided trying to have a conversation with the waiter would be futile, and kept eating. the seitan was crispy and amazing…we just probably won’t be ordering the curry again next time.

    the atmosphere in shojin is lovely. dark, elegant and very japanese. you wouldn’t think this place would be inside a mall in little tokyo, but it is. once seated inside, however, it feels like you’re in a really fancy restaurant.

    our experience ended on a lovely note as we left and our waiter came chasing after us, running through the mall and calling for our attention. when we turned around, he caught up and handed us two small individually wrapped cookies. how sweet is that? and they were delicious.

    overall, our dinner at shojin was far from perfect, but still quite enjoyable. the sweet service, great atmosphere and high-quality vegan food made up for the fact that we maybe ordered the wrong thing. i’m really looking forward to returning and trying something new.

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3 responses to “shojin downtown” RSS icon

  • LA’ers are so lucky, there seems to be tons of great restaurants out there that are exclusively vegan. This one looks really trendy and hip.

  • Hi. Quarrygirl! thank you for the great review for Shojin.

    I just wanted to thank you and let you know that we added some new items; and
    we are doing special valentine’s course menu on 14th feb.
    so hope to see you soon!

  • We went there for Valentine’s day dinner which included a fixed menu with a choice of two entrees. I opted for the “Chicken” cordon bleu which accompanied many other side dishes, followed by dessert and then the two cookies as pictured. The seitan tasted homemade and somewhat rubbery (similar to what I make at home since I have not perfected the art of seitan making yet) and not too much flavor. The portions were small and some of the dishes tasted a bit too “exotic” for me. I don’t think I would go back again based on the food alon. On a positive note, the service was 5 stars and could have not asked for nicer staff. The chef came out to greet all the patrons and asked how the food tasted. He even gave us those cookies and a CD to take home. I would go back just for the service alone… I wish all restaurants had that level of service.

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