Friday, March 29, 2013

Shojo: Tempura Pickles to Chocolate Sesame Balls

One year ago, I published Yurine's Pot, the first Tipsy Sensei story and it featured an ancient Japanese legend about Shōjō, water spirits who love Sake. In honor of this anniversary, it thus seemed appropriate that I should visit a Chinatown restaurant called Shōjō. I previously reviewed this restaurant, after a lunch visit, proclaiming it A Welcome Addition To Chinatown. Please read that post for background information on the restaurant and here you can read my new thoughts after my dinner visit with Jen and Adam.

The restaurant was fairly busy for a Tuesday night, even at 8pm and later. Their lunch and dinner menus are different and the current version of their Dinner Menu included 14 Soups & Small Plates ($4-$10), 2 Pasta ($15-$16), 8 Entrees ($14-$18), 4 Sides ($3-$5) and 1 Dessert ($5). It is an eclectic, fun and interesting selection of dishes, Asian inspired but usually with unique twists. Consider the Winter Salad, made with Hijiki, Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts & Sriracha Cider or the House Smoked Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Asian Gnocchi, Kung Pao Sauce & Toasted Peanuts.

I began my meal with a glass of Hakushu 12 Year Old Single Malt, a Japanese whisky, a nice sipping spirit with intriguing fruity elements and a mild smoky backbone. They also carry the Hibiki and Yamazaki Japanese whiskies. Japanese whisky intrigues me, and it is difficult to find much of it in the Boston area.

We decided to start off by splitting several Small Plates, and each one was delicious, compelling and I would recommend all. Not a dud among them. The XO Fresh Corn ($4) is made with Soy and a Housemade XO Sauce, which is a mildly spicy seafood sauce. The sauce was complex and intriguing, rich in umami, elevating a simple dish of corn.

The Tempura Housemade Pickles ($5), which come with a whole grain mustard aioli, were an addictive treat. Pink peppercorns are used in making the pickles which are mildly sweet. The tempura batter is light, clean and crunchy and cover a thin sliced, crisp and juicy slice of pickle. One of the best fried pickle dishes in the city.

The Suckling Pig Bao ($8), which has received raves from many, is worthy of the accolades. Made with a Smoked BBQ sauce and Housemade Kimchi, the pork was flavorful and had a delightful, crunchy exterior. The light smokiness of the sauce enhanced the pork.

The BBQ Pork Ribs ($8) are covered by a sweet chile glaze and topped by a frisee fennel salad. The tender and flavorful meat easily falls off the bones, and each rib was meaty. The glaze is only mildly spicy and I would love to see a spicier version of these ribs. Pure BBQ rib pleasure.

For entrees, Adam opted for the Kimchi Fried Rice ($14) with tofu steak and a farm raised fried egg. He was very pleased with his entree, though a tofu steak would not have been my choice.

Jen decided on the Pistachio Crusted Tuna Steak ($18) with wasabi risotto, honey-soy glaze and pumpkin croutons. She also was impressed with her entree, raving about its flavors. She also remarked on the large size of the dish, having expected a smaller portion.

I opted for the Char Siu Pulled Pork Ravioli ($15), with house smoked bacon, Chinese celery, and shaved Pecorino. Each ravioli, cooked al dente, was quite large and filled with plenty of tender, tasty meat. The addition of the bacon, celery and cheese added a nice mix of flavors and textures, elevating this dish,  delivering an Asian flair to an otherwise Italian style dish. Very enjoyable and also recommended.

For dessert, we ended with the Chocolate Sesame Balls ($5), which I previously reviewed and which were equally as delicious this time.

Overall, our dinner was excellent and impressive, and each dish delivered. Service was professional, courteous and attentive. I believe you get a good value for the price and Shōjō is certainly a welcome addition to Chinatown. Dine there for lunch or dinner, and I bet you too will enjoy their intriguing cuisine.

1 comment:

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

Everything looks great! Especially the pickles and pork buns. Yum!