Shojin in Little Tokyo

Ordering at Shojin is like tossing a coin and guessing whether it’ll land on heads or tails. For every scrumptious dish that may tickle a carnivore with the idea of turning vegan, there is the never-mind-I’m-not-converting plate. Which is why I was hesitant to dine here with my non-vegan friend upon her wanting to try Shojin’s fishless sushi rolls.

We started off with a gluten-free appetizer: the Mixed Mushrooms & Shishito Peppers. My non-vegan friend loved it. Delighted to nourish herself with more than one species of mushroom–sauteed shiitake, shimeji and eryngii–in one sitting, she enthusiastically savored away. So did I. We were off to a good start. There’s nothing more beautiful than a vegan and meat-eater harmoniously sharing a meal.

Above: The adventurous Pirates of the Crunchy: fried tempeh, green onion and crunchy tempura batter mixed with spicy mayo on green vegetable roll served with spicy dynamite sauce.

As suggested by our waiter we ordered the tempeh-topped Pirates of the Crunchy. Being an avid avoider of consuming soy (more than 90% of soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified), it took some mental power to try this dish. I admit it was by far the most drool-inducing vegan sushi roll I’ve tried at Shojin. The crunchy tempura combined with soft textures was a indisputable party in the mouth. My tastebuds couldn’t stop dancing.

SHOJIN_pumpkin-croquetteAbove: The Pumpkin Croquette. Looks like hash browns on their monthly. Please excuse my imagination.

Up next was the Seitan Steak with Garlic Herb Butter. This grilled mock meat will fool everyone into thinking they’re about to eat an authentic piece of beef. While my non-vegan friend wasn’t a big fan of its taste nor texture, I grew to like the chewiness with every bite. Considering my gluten sensitivity I probably won’t order this dish again. It was enjoyable while it lasted.

Above: The Landscape of Japan roll looks more exciting than it tastes. Order the Pirates of the Crunchy instead.

Hungry for another round of memorable rolls, we ordered the Landscape of Japan. The vegan and meat-eater unanimously agreed it was not as flavorful and exciting as Pirates of the Crunchy. On a positive note, at least we got to eat yet another type of mushroom! The ingredients included carrot, burdock, avocado and enoki mushroom.

Additional notes: Cozy and romantic. Handmade art on walls. Service felt rushed. Women’s bathroom has photos of celebrity customers. Gotta love their soap.

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

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