shōjō is commonly considered to be a water spirit that loves Sake. You'll find several legends about them that center around magical Sake, from Sake that can cure any illness to Sake pots that are always full, no matter how much your pour out. The legend has a Chinese origin and the term is sometimes translated as "orangutan" so that a few legends describe shōjō as resembling monkeys. In my first Tipsy Sensei story, Yurine's Pot, the legend of the shōjō played a pivotal role. With my interest in such matters, I was intrigued by a new Chinatown restaurant called Shōjō.
Facebook page that during the month of January all of the items on their lunch menu were only $5. Sounded like a great time to sample a variety of their dishes inexpensively. However, their lunch menu was not listed on their website so I contacted their PR person to obtain a copy. My friend Jackie and I then dined there, and at the end of the meal we learned that the restaurant had comped our lunch. You can also check out Jackie's compelling review of our dining experience.
Shōjō is a small restaurant and bar, seating around 50 people, and located in the heart of Chinatown on Tyler Street. Its intent is to attract people to Chinatown who might feel intimidated by some of the more authentic and traditional restaurants. To that objective, its cuisine is Pan-Asian with a modern twist, a playful take on more traditional and authentic dishes. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and the menus change weekly "...depending on the availability of fresh and local ingredients." The walls have various paintings of a simian shojo on a search for a river of Sake. There is an enticing casual vibe about the restaurant.
I looked at their drinks menu, which intrigued me, but we didn't order anything to drink besides green tea. They have about nine Sakes, some Shochu and numerous unique cocktails. There are some good Sakes on the list though nothing especially unique. For a restaurant using a Sake legend in their decor and motif, I would have liked to see a greater number and variety of Sakes available on their menu. I am interested in trying some of their Shochu cocktails.
My first experience at Shōjō was very positive and I look forward to my next visit, to try more of their dishes and to delve into their drinks menu. I like the fact the menu changes frequently, so you will find something new all the time. This is not the place to go if you are seeking authentic Chinese dishes. Rather it is a spot where you go to enjoy their playful takes on traditional cuisine, a great entry spot for newcomers to Chinatown who might feel intimidated in more traditional spots. However, even if you love traditional Chinese food, it is well worth visiting here for their unique take on Asian dishes.
Kanpai to Shōjō!