I returned to vegan restaurant Shojin last week to give it another try. The last time I went, they were still green from being newly opened so I wasn’t blown away by anything. I also thought that the prices were too high for what we got. This time, we took a different approach and ordered different dishes. I don’t remember if it’s because they just weren’t on the menu before, or if we just didn’t order it, but I enjoyed my food more this time than the last.
I ordered a caterpillar roll as my main course. While I was bummed that they didn’t have regular white rice for their rolls, I really wanted to try what a vegan caterpillar roll tasted like, so I ordered it anyway. The seitan inside was cooked to a good softness, the sauce was a little sweet, a little salty, but most importantly, the rice was pretty good as far as brown-rice sushi goes. It was soft and sticky and didn’t taste too health-foodish. The roll isn’t even on the same level as a regular caterpillar roll with real fish, but it was good for a vegan roll.
Next, I had a bite of the pumpkin croquette, which was just mediocre. It’s a bit disappointing when something battered and fried isn’t delicious. It just didn’t taste that good, so I suggest skipping this dish.
In contrast, the avocado tempura with mixed greens salad was much better. The avocado was still warm and crispy from the fryer. The texture of the crunchy batter outside and the warm, soft, rich avocado inside was perfect. The salad wasn’t too bad either.
The BF ordered the cold sesame seitan soba, which he was pleased with. The cold broth was certainly flavorful and strong with a sesame taste. The seitan was also cooked well and soaked up the flavors from the broth. The soba isn’t anything to write home about, but at least it wasn’t overcooked.
For dessert, we ordered the crepe with strawberries and tofu chocolate cream and a scoop of rum raisin ice cream. The crepe was soft and soggy, but the chocolate cream was decent because it wasn’t too sweet. The raisin ice cream was also a hit even though I don’t like raisin.
We also ordered the peach parfait which comes with fresh peaches, peach jelly, peach ice-cream, and granola. The peach ice-cream was a little too icy, even for my tastes. The peach jelly was okay, but a strange addition to the parfait. The fresh peaches were too hard and kind of flavorless especially compared to the jelly.
It seemed like this time, we had the opposite experience as last time. I was much more pleased with my entree than I was with dessert. Maybe it’s just me, but I still think the restaurant is expensive for what it serves. The soba dish was $11 and it wasn’t even that big of a serving. Even though I enjoyed this visit more, Shojin is still delegated to a place to dine at only when we get a serious hankering for vegan Japanese food that I can’t make at home.
333 S. Alameda St. Suite 310
(Little Tokyo Shopping Center 3F)
Los Angeles, CA 90013