Offers the best vegan japanese food in the area, creating dishes that are truly a work of art,
and high quality services
Once I became vegan, I spent hours on the internet and on Facebook looking for new restaurant options in my area. When I found Shojin, a vegan sushi restaurant, I was intrigued. I had never been a fan of sushi before I was vegan. The idea of a piece of raw, mercury laden fish just never really appealed to me. Vegan sushi without the raw fish, however, was entirely different. I was in! After staring longingly at the beautiful food pictures on their website for a few months, I resolved to go the next time I was in the area.
My husband and I were up in Los Angeles when we started getting hungry and I immediately thought of Shojin. We knew we might get there and be turned away since it was Saturday night and we didn’t have a reservation, but we were willing to take the risk. There are two locations, one in Little Tokyo and one in Culver City. We were closer to the one in Little Tokyo, so we started driving there. It is located in a multi-level shopping center that has seen better days, so we didn’t know what to expect when we walked up to the restaurant. Once we got there, we only had to wait about ten minutes before we were seated. The atmosphere was cozy and romantic, and there were thoughtful touches at the table, like a basket under each seat for purses and scarves. The windows facing out into the shopping center were covered with curtains, leaving the restaurant nicely secluded and quiet.
Deciding what to order was a challenge. Everything on their extensive menu sounded amazing, and I was extremely excited to see that many items were gluten free. We finally settled on the Tempura Cauliflower as an appetizer (gluten free tempura?!) and I ordered the Super Pirates roll. My husband ordered the Pirates of the Crunchy roll. The Tempura Cauliflower arrived a few minutes later and was delicious. The batter was light and crisp, and the ginger tamari sauce added a bright, fresh element to the dish. My husband and I were fighting over who got the last piece, and getting him to eat vegetables is usually a challenge! Our rolls arrived shortly after we finished our appetizer. My roll, the Super Pirates, was gluten free. It was an avocado wrapped green vegetable roll with fried tempeh, seasoned rice, and green onion with a spicy vegan mayo and crunchy cornflake topping. A tiny green chili sat atop each piece, and the whole roll was sitting on a plate covered with a spicy dynamite sauce. My husband’s roll, the Pirates of the Crunchy, was nearly identical. The only difference was that instead of cornflakes, there was tempura on top. I was completely full after the appetizer and roll. I really wanted to order something else anyway, so I tried the Miso Soup, since I like to think I am a bit of a miso soup connoisseur. I wasn’t disappointed! Both of us were extremely satisfied with the meal, and we left knowing we would be back.
We have been multiple times since. I have ordered other items and enjoyed them all, but my favorites are still the Tempura Cauliflower and the Super Pirates. We’ve been for both lunch and dinner, and the atmosphere is a bit more casual during the day. They open the curtains and it’s brighter and less romantic, but the food is still amazing.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the stellar service we have always received at Shojin. Even though we are only there once a month or less since it’s over an hour away from our home, one of the servers recognized that we ordered something different than our “usual” and came to check to make sure the order was correct. We are always greeted with a smile, and our glasses are never empty. I don’t think we have ever had to wait more than ten minutes for our food, even when the restaurant has been full. Each of the servers, hosts/hostesses, and cooks works hard to ensure that Shojin‘s high standards are met. To learn more about the overall mission, vision, and concept behind Shojin, click here.
If you are ever in Los Angeles, I highly recommend trying Shojin. It is by far my favorite vegan restaurant. If you’re hesitant, just take a look at their website. Each dish they make is truly a work of art.