A much needed breath of fresh air has arrived on Chinatown-Shojo (9A Tyler Street, Boston. 617-423-7888), named after a sake loving red haired and faced half man and half monkey, you can find the lovely and colorful murals decorating one wall and documenting Shojo and his quest for sake. It is a two year labor of love for owner and Chinatown community leader Brian Moy (who has twenty years of restaurant experience as GM of China Pearl in Quincy) to bring this establishment serving Asian fusion that is fresh and locally sourced served along with delicious house-made and infused liquors drinks. The décor is chic and modern, creating a relaxing and sophisticated atmosphere. Brian wanted a place where he and his friends could relax, have a good drink and food in Chinatown. He has succeeded in spades!
We started off with the special of the day, Lobster Bisque. We were intrigued by the truffle foam, monkfish liver, with the kimchee butter clarified lobster which instantly got our attention. The broth and all the elements complemented each other nicely with the taste of lobster. Suckling Pig Bao were two mantou buns (steamed Chinese buns) filled with delicious and flavorful suckling pig topped off by zesty shredded homemade kimchee, BBQ sauce, shaved cucumber and Jalapeno all adding the right amount of zing and heat. We quickly regretted not ordering more of these baos, easily the best pork baos ever! Plus the suckling pig is roasted daily! The Duck Fat Pomme Fries were delicious, served with the sriracha aioli.
Another special of the day was the Corn Crusted Cat Fish with a sweet chili glaze. The portion was generous with a light dusting of the corn crust. The fish sauce was a bit strong for this dish, otherwise it was light and the dish was strongly redolent of Thai flavors. Also we got the Braised Ribs which were melt off the bone tender served over taro mash, Chinese spinach with a lovely star anise sauce. Taro had a mild taste but was a great accompaniment to the star anise sauce with the lovely braised ribs which thoroughly were amazing! Kudos to Chef Nick Lee formerly of Franklin Café for his awesome food sensibility combining flavors as a welcome addition to Boston’s dining scene not just in Chinatown alone.
We had some wonderful drinks. The syrups are made in house as well as their infused liquors. Their non-alcoholic options House Tonic and Ginger Beer were refreshing. Both were made with house syrups. Usually we both dislike Tonics, but this one blew us out of the water with its taste making it sublime mix of tonic syrup-made from quinine, bitters, lime and soda water. Their Ginger Beer maintained a very balanced ginger flavor without being overpowering or sweet. T heir Dinghow Cocktail with Hendricks Gin, Lillet Rose, Lemon, Simple Syrup, and Rose Champagne shined for those not seeking an overly fruity or powerful drink. The bubbles and the crisp flavors were soothing and welcomed.
The service was amazing and attentive from Hannah as well as everyone else. Our water glasses were always refilled without us having to ask and we were not rushed to leave even after we paid our bills.
I am very excited to now have a place for drinks in Chinatown. On September 19th there will be a Suckling Pig multi course tasting and please call them for more details.