I am never one who'd decide to go vegetarian one day, but I've heard many great things about Shojin, the organic/vegan/macrobiotic Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo from fellow bloggers (mainly LA-OC Foodie and inomthings).
|Seitan Steak Marinade|
Shojin's dining room was much nicer than I had expected, especially for being in that neglected mall in Little Tokyo. White tablecloth, chandelier, and all.
Shojin also recently started serving alcohol and we tried their "Mojito" made with unprocessed cane sugar, mint, apple juice, cranberry juice, vegan sake (Ichigo)
We started with a tasting of the three most popular appetizers:
Spicy rock shiitake tempura, spicy wasaby mayonnaise
Yuzu ponzu Seitan (pan fried sliced seitan with grated daikon and yuzu citrus sauce)
Spicy fried tofu (fried marinated tofu, spicy soy sauce)
Shojin also makes sure to serve vegan wine and sake. Wine isn't always vegan? Nope, apparently most wines are filtered using egg whites or egg shells. The appetizers were paired with some Nottage Hill Chardonnay from Australia.
Shojin serves a variety of vegan "sushi" rolls. We tried the Dragon Roll (shiitake and avocado roll, Seitan (instead of eel) and avocado with sweet soy sauce)
Our favorite: Dynamite Roll (spicy "tuna" roll, spicy mayo and green onion with spicy soy sauce)
Some sake to go along with the sushi:
The Kikusui junmai ginjo is of course also organic and vegan (most sake uses gelatin to filter and therefore not vegan). The sake is smooth and flavorful with a light sweetness.
We also got lucky and the owner asked if we wanted to try out their new ume (plum) sake. Of course we did! The Choya junmai ume sake was sweet but lighter than others and not at all cloying or jammy. Naturally, the entire table loved it.
Our entrée duo: Seitan steak marinade with garlic herb butter and Fried tofu steak with sweet miso gravy and sauteed mixed mushrooms
The desserts at Shojin are worth noting also. I've rarely found a vegan version of standard desserts that I liked (an original vegan recipe is a different matter).
The table favorite was the raw Raspberry chocolate cake
Unlike other vegan cheesecakes I've tried, this cheesecake was quite smooth and creamy. This was apparently their special Valentine's dessert and people liked it so much they kept it on, and I can definitely see why! I still like my carnivorous cheesecakes but I can go for this too.
Pumpkin cheese cake with raspberry sauce
The crust is made of pumpkin seeds and almonds and was a bit grainy, but again the texture of the "cheesecake" was smooth and creamy.
Molten Lava Cake with vanilla ice cream
The woman behind the savory dishes: Chef Kimiko Ikeda, who studied at the macrobiotic institute
(We didn't get to meet the pastry chef)
Being someone who normally would never consider an all-vegan/vegetarian meal unless I'm dining with a veg-ing friend, I was thoroughly impressed by this meal at Shojin. And the next time my vegetarian/vegan friends come into town, my dining choice would be easy.
333 S Alameda St Unit 310
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Disclosure: This meal was hosted.