April 15, 2010 6

Shojin (Little Tokyo)

By in 06: Downtown LA

Ever since the Japanese bookstore closed down it’s been awhile I stepped into to the Little Tokyo shopping center on Alameda Street. There used to be a great Japanese yoshoku (western food) place called Lauren on the 3rd floor which we loved, but it was closed down in early 2000 due to the owner’s retirement. It was a great place that had a lot of heart, good food and the owner got great taste in music and films (lots of cool 60s stuffs). The space had been empty for awhile until last year when Shojin opened.

Shojin is a Japanese vegetarian and microbiotic restaurant. Just like Lauren I can tell the owner put a lot of heart into personalizing the space and designing the menu. Each table came with color markers so we could go nuts with doodling.


Appetizer: Deep fried assorted vegetables with soy tempura sauce
I like the really thin and crispy batter.

We both got the daily lunch bento box, which contains choices of two entree, vegetables, salad and today’s soup. The soup is miso but it has lots of vegetables in it. I like it a lot!


Freda chose the BBQ seitan and Pumpkin croquette with shojin ketchup. The BBQ seitan was tasty but it gets salty the more you eat.


I picked Hamburg Steak with soy gravy sauce and okara cake with vegan mayonnais. The “hamburg steak” did taste like and has the texture of meat. It’s made of Seitan, aka wheat gluten, which is widely use in Chinese and Japanese vegetarian cuisine. I like the veggie Hamburg steak and the sauce was tasty, though just like the BBQ seitan it gets salty the more you eat it. Though they’re meant to be eaten with rice. The Okara cake is deep fried vegan cake mad with soybeans, cashew nuts, shiitake mushrooms and garlic. It was pretty good.

The dessert looks tempting on the menu so we got two. One should know that the cakes are made in microbiotic style so no refine sugar and egg were used.


Orange “cheese” tart – with homemade marmalade sauce
Green tea Pudding cake – with toasted coconuts and vanilla ice cream
Both are good considering no refine sugar and egg were used. Maple syrup and fruits were used as sweetener instead. Because of that cake and tart’s texture were rougher, though that is expected.  The chef did a good job and I like how homemade they taste.

I went back another day for a light dinner.

Baked beet salad with tofu “cheese” Served with spiced almonds and lemony soy vinaigrette.
It’s quite amazing how the homemade tofu cheese taste similar to cheese! I wish there were more in the dish.


Vegetable Soba – a bit bland and boring.

Crunchy Plum roll– mountain potato, cucumber, shiso leaves, Plum paste and roasted pumpkin seeds with soy sauce. I love this roll very much! All the ingredients work well together to give different flavors and texture in one bite. I especially like the mountain potato which gave a nice crisp texture.

Great friendly service from the staff. Overall I like that their vegetarian “meat” don’t have the “vegetarian” taste that Chinese seitan usually have. For vegetarian food they did a good job in making the non-vegetable food interesting and tasty. The bento box ($9.95) is quite good in value for an everyday lunch as you do get full. I would strongly recommend this place to vegetarians and I think meat eaters should give it a try too!

333 S. Alameda St. Suite 310
(Little Tokyo Shopping Center 3F)
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 617-0305

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tags: , , ,

6 Responses to “Shojin (Little Tokyo)”

  1. H.C. says:

    Shojin is one of my favorite places to eat in Little Tokyo — satisfying without being heavy… next time if you’re in the mood for soba, try their avo-toma ~ great melange of flavors going on between the fresh leafy greens, the tangy tomatoes, creamy avocado and wasabi-spiked veganaise over soba noodles in the soy broth.

  2. tomoko says:

    oh so the bookstore closed down? was it recent 🙁 ?

    wow, how do they make tofu taste like cheese?
    I would definitely like to try it ^-^

  3. Freda says:

    Tomoko, it was long time ago 🙁 I remember we ate at Lauren together back then too… time flies. We gotta take you there when you come. 😉

    H.C. I’m glad to hear another foodie likes this place too. I’ll def. try the soba (your descriptions sound so mouth watering!)

  4. vero says:

    can you tell them to advice their trusted relatives and friends to open up branches in Montreal? I’d love to eat something vegetarian that’s not expensively boring 🙂

  5. RP says:

    Ahhh, so you went to Shojin and liked it 😉 I’ve eaten there since it was opened, was pondering if I should recommend it to you guys since it’s in LT, but thought you might find their food a bit bland. Agreed on the salty seitan/burger too!

  6. Joan says:

    RP, it must be the perfect restaurant for you! What’s your favorite dish there?