Okay, this post is a tad late, as we went to Shojin about 3 weeks ago. Why has it taken me so long to write this up? Well, I still haven't gotten my photos off my camera. First we had a load of trouble with our Bits mail, and then, well, who knows? The photos are still on the camera. But here's the post, with images we copied from Shojin's website.
YUM! If you live in Los Angeles or come for a visit, this place is a must! Let me rephrase this... This is the BEST VEGAN restaurant we have ever eaten at! This was our second visit, and neither Jane nor I have been disappointed with anything we consumed. That night, they offered a "Special Tasting Course" which I ordered. Last time we were here, I had Seitan and Jane ordered the Okara Crab Cakes. She was really craving them this time, but wanted to try something new so she ordered the BBQ Saitain salad (the image to the right is the BBQ Saitan, no salad). According to her, this is the best seitan she's ever eaten. I'd have to agree.The Tasting was really something. We both agreed that we'll order that if they offer it again. They started off with a Detox Elixer, which consisted of cane juice, cayenne pepper, ginger juice, and water. It was interesting, but I'm not sure I'd order it on it's own. The Organic Tomato Tartar followed. It was a beautiful tower of tofu cheese, chopped tomato and avocado slices. The tofu cheese was absolutely delicious. I doubt it would work as a pizza topping, but wow. Jane tried to get the recipe from the chef, but wasn't successful.
The next course was their signature "Fried Garden Seitan Ball Tsukune" which is seitan balls served with homemade ketchup. This is much better than it sounds. The ketchup is complex and has a wonderful flavor and they have their seitan down! That was followed by a bowl of carrot ginger soup, also delicious.
The next course was their Genmyo Tea, which is billed as a healthy herbal tea. It was good. As with the detox elixer, I wouldn't have to have it again, but it wasn't bad.
Following the tea, the Shojin Special Bento arrived. There are four small plates of "stuff." This bento contained some BBQ Saitan, and their Crispy Setian Cutlet. The other two plates were some kind of vegetable, but I don't remember what exactly. But, as with the other courses, everything was delicious. And the service during both of our visits has been impeccable!
Dinner was followed by a dessert tasting plate and coffee. I tried the grain coffee. It wasn't bad, but I think it's probably an acquired taste. The desserts were interesting. There was a scoop of ice cream which was very good. Neither of us remember what else we had. There was something chocolate which I left for Jane (she's a bit of a chocoholic), and something fruit based.
But nothing compared to that BBQ Saitan.
Shojin has started offering catering services too. If you're planning a party, their food will convince the omnivores in your crowd that vegans eat better than they do.
Pertinent facts: They're hidden away on the third floor of a quite mall in Little Tokyo. If you're not going there, you're not likely to find them. They're located at 333 S. Alameda St. 3rd Floor Suite 310, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Tel: 213-617-0305). They're closed on Monday's.
Here's a link to their map and hours. If you're nearby, don't miss this gem!