Vegetarian restaurants. Some people love ’em. Other HATE them. I love them. Not only because I can actually gobble everything on the menu but also because they’re always creative. There’s usually a dish I’ve never heard of or even a new way of cooking since you gotta get pretty smart about substituting for meat. Something that doesn’t happen a lot at other restaurants. Necessity often breeds innovation. Plus, I like the tofu, protein options and ground nut mixes that I’m usually hard-pressed to find at “regular” restaurants.
So you can imagine my luck when. My lovely friend B first introduced me to Shojin, in Little Tokyo, an organic vegetarian restaurant. They specialise in Japanese food and make healthy living their business.
This was about my 3rd or 4th time here. And every time I walk throughthe door, I’m always find a mystic zen atmosphere awaiting me where I can safely unleash my inner child. And unleash I do. They have a gigantic sheet of white paper on every table that doubles both as a tablecloth cover and a canvas for us to colour away. Next to the usual condiments is a big tube filled with coloured markers. Basically everything we need to create masterpieces.
The last time I came was before Valentine’s Day and they put up a beautiful tree and gave each of us a cut out of a heart and asked us to write a message to adorn the tree. Its simple but it adds an air of innocent fun that’s lacking in our everyday lives that seem to be getting more and more serious.
But I digress. Food. I ordered the deep fried tofu with mixed veggies and brown rice. It was very tasty and satisfying. The portions are moderately sized, satisfying without bloating. My friends ordered a vegetarian steak burger, a seitan curry and some delicious tofu appetizers. I highly recommend anything with tempeh or seitan just to try if you’ve never had it. They both have extremely unique textures and flavours. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
Everything was going well. Just like the last 2 times I had been there. Except just before we left. The staff came up to ask and told us we couldn’t leave because we hadn’t tipped them enough. Embarrassed as we were we hurried paid them what we could. But it was awkward because we had calculated everything correctly. And of course, who is going to pay the extra few dollars?? Point is, I don’t like the way they approached us and barred us from leaving. I mean c’mon, tip is given based on service and not mandatory. Yeah I know waiters have a hard time at the job. But don’t forget, a tip is a privilege not a right. Anyway, I most likely won’t be going back to this place in a long time if at all. Try it if you want vegetarian food. But yeah tip them “properly” or you might not be able to leave!
Price $$ about $5-7 for appetizers, $11-15 mains, $3-4 drinks, $4-6 dessert I think…look it up on yelp (reasonable for dinner, especially considering anything organic and vegetarian has a huge price tag slapped on it)