A new vegan restaurant called Shojin has opened in the Little Tokyo Shopping Mall on Alameda in downtown. They are located on the 3rd floor of the building so you’ll never accidentally find it by driving by. The actual name of the restaurant includes “Organic & Natural,” and does not use the word vegan but that’s basically what it is.
Before we get into the dishes, I need to clearify that I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian. In fact, if you read my review of Healthy Request Soup, you’ll know that I don’t even like low fat anything.
According to their website, they not only want to serve you healthy food, they also want you to give you super friendly service. One thing I noticed right away was the people there going out of their way to make you feel at home here. In fact, for me, it was a little too much. Yes, I like friendly waiters, but I started feeling like I was in an interview after a while. Let me just get my food and eat it please. If I want to talk to the waiter, I’ll bring my own with me.
The main dish I chose was the Cha-soba pasta with tofu and vegies (above – $13.50). I love soba so I thought this would be a good thing to try. It was spicy so at least there was some kick to it, but as most vegan dishes, it didn’t have that fatty taste that’s unhealthy but tasty. But I understand I’m eating a vegan dish, and not fettuccine alfredo with extra sauce. So although I didn’t really like it, I think any vegan would find this dish prepared perfectly.
Not feeling full, I decided to order the vegan version of chocolate cake, knowing full well that it wasn’t going to be full of bad things. In terms of the actual taste, it’s amazing how mild but flavorful this desert was. It’s certainly light and I really didn’t even need the black coffee that I normally need to compensate for a chocolate cake. In fact, it’s so mild, I felt like I needed to put sugar in my coffee. However, the coffee comes with soy milk and honey. No sugar here. It’s all natural.
If you’re a real vegan, I’m pretty sure you’ll find this place to be wonderful with all the choices and interesting dishes they have here. If you’re a meat slash fatty sugar lover like me, you might find the dishes to be a little mild and bland. But if you were to be dragged here with your vegan friend, I think you’ll find something you can fill up on.