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Mar 16, 2008 10:36 PM


I went to Shojin, a vegan Japanese place that just opened in Little Tokyo tonight for dinner. The place is a bit expensive for what it is, but the food overall was decent. Even though I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, I enjoyed dessert the best here.

I ordered the traditional vegetable appetizer, which consisted of three small dishes of okara and veggies, burdock and carrot salad, and seaweed (hijiki) salad. The okara was good because there was some konyakku mixed in too. The burdock salad and seaweed salad were also good, but tasted a bit too similar in flavor even though their textures were different.

I had the fried okara “crab” cakes as an entree. The flavor was good, but it could have been a bit more crispier. The green chili pepper sauce that came with it was delicious. It also came with a side of broccolini which was tasty and a side of some type of brown rice porridge which was not as tasty. It was too soggy or mushy for me, but the addition of the squash (pumpkin) made it taste better.

The BF ordered their daily special, which was curry seitan katsu with brown rice. The seitan katsu was great, but we both thought the curry was lacking something. It was salty enough, but not that savory and too sweet. It lacked some sort of depth, but I couldn’t pin my finger on it.

Dessert was surprisingly good. It was a chocolate parfait served with vanilla ice cream. The candied pecans on top were so good we ended up fighting over who got to eat the two pieces. The house made granola in the parfait was also good. I wouldn’t have guessed the whole thing was vegan and made of soy.

Considering that Shojin just opened up and they’re still testing out some dishes, dinner was good. The lady who waited our table was very gracious and receptive to what we thought about our meal. She even gave us some rosemary cookies on our way out that were a nice way to finish the night. I’m interested in trying this place again in a few months and see how their menu has progressed and improved.

333 S. Alameda St.
Little Tokyo Square 3F (Suite 310)
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Tel: 213-617-0305

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  1. Thanks for the reconnaissance. A friend of mine has a vegan daughter, and it's tough when we go out to eat together to find a place that suits everybody. Vegan asian food can probably be pretty good (even though I love meat) and I'm definitely looking forward to that parfait :)

    1. Someone posted when the place opened earlier this month about the place asking for a review, I thought I might be the first. I am glad I am a procrastinator so I have your review to think about before going. How much did the meal cost? Also, did you go at dinner or lunch? Lastly, you should warn people not to go forward or backwards from the page on that link unless they do not mind seeing vermin . . . especially from a food site, heh . . . Is the place really Vegan? You said "crab" in quotes . . .

      6 Replies
      1. re: apple7blue

        Our meal for two with a shared appetizer and shared dessert was about $50. I think she may have comped the dessert or forgot to put it on the bill because as I was running it over in my head on the way home, it should have been around $60.

        We went for dinner.

        Yes, the place really is vegan. I put crab in quotes because it wasn't real crab, but made out of okara, which is the side-product you get from making soy milk.

        1. re: PandanExpress

          I did go and enjoy one of their fixed course meals. Even though it was fixed course, they accomodated me and gave me a non-chocolate dessert etceteras. I loved their food. I would definitely like to go more often.

          1. re: apple7blue

            shojin in one of my favorites for dinner.
            to me, their limited lunch menu is not worth the drive, but the dinner menu is terrific.
            the free parking is icing on the cake.

            1. re: westsidegal

              I think they have improved somewhat since that first trip (from '08). Still a little hit or miss, and it's not really comparable to actual shojin ryori style cuisine in taste, style, or presentation (not that they try to claim it is) -- it's closer in style to modern Japanese macrobiotic cooking. Sadly, I think their more "fusion" type stuff is usually more successful than their traditional dishes (even compared to other vegetarian Japanese places).

              If the prices were a little lower, I'd probably visit more often.

              1. re: will47

                Well as far as the drive, a lot of people are in the area--I think its one of the better or few good places to eat downtown and not bust your bank account up. I didn't really think their food is shojin ryori, and like you say they don't try to claim it. Who are you comparing them to will47? I like their "fusion" items, though I want to mention--they have had spaghetti and curry and other foreign dishes in Japan since after the Meiji restoration that are consequently Japanese in character in their Japanese incarnation. Is their food macrobiotic?

                1. re: apple7blue

                  Shojin website says it offers:
                  "organic and natural meals influenced and inspired by macrobiotic and Japanese style. … high quality ingredients, such as organic vegetables and natural seasonings. … Mirin and Soy Sauce are directly imported from Japan and made in old-fashioned and traditional method. … [doesn't] use refined sugar; instead use[s] Brown rice syrup, Maple syrup and Maple sugar. No chemical seasonings and food additives are used in our meals. …"

                  333 S Alameda St Ste 310, Los Angeles, CA 90013