Shōjō is a unique addition to Tyler St in Chinatown, an area otherwise comprised of the quick and convenient, the ‘I’m sure that’s great but I’ll try it next time’s, and the staples that are great – China Pearl, anyone? – but that have been there, unchanged, since the beginning of time.
Shōjō attempts to do a daring thing: bring the locally-sourced ingredient, in-house-infused craft cocktail movement to this location, creating a more modern Asian cuisine than other establishments in the area have thought to offer.
The BBQ Pork Rib was the best of what we ordered. The meat was sweet and the sauce tangy, but it was possibly the only thing I’d get again. We also tried the Chinese Eggplant Parm $7, which was interesting but needed a little extra kick, and the Cripy Shrimp Wontons $8, which I think could be paralleled at any surrounding place. I didn’t try a noodle dish, though, which I’ve heard to be their must do.
I had high hopes for the feel of the place because I judge restaurants by their covers and Shojo’s outside is very appealing. So the dark, loud inside took me a while to get used to (the back wall was also going through some personality transformation). But I began to warm up to it with a glance at the detailed cocktail list that categorizes its offerings by style, which I appreciate. Another warming feature was that our server, and then additionally every person to come to our table, had me convinced that he or she was the single nicest person I’ve ever talked to.
It seems like a late dinner, hip date, real drink kind of place. Which is good to know and surely something new for Chinatown to play with.