My friend Rachel and I had been talking about going to Shojo–a hot spot in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston–for months. So when we finally got down to visiting the restaurant, we had already set this place up pretty high on the pedestal after hearing so many others rave about this place.
Since we’re both so good with directions (or not even close), it’s no surprise we wandered around the streets of Chinatown for quite a bit of time before we finally found Shojo. The place was surprisingly empty when we got there. We were seated at a hightop table near the front of the restaurant looking out onto the street. The space was really fun: It had a dark, lofty feel with a no-frills vibe. The small wooden bar ran across one side of the space with exposed brick walls. The back (or front, depending on how you’re facing) wall featured a large mural with a small window opening looking into the kitchen. Single lightbulbs inside of industrial coverings hung from the ceiling. It was definitely a fun space.
The cocktail list was super creative. I decided to go with the Reiko Greene, which was made with gin, green chartreuse, lime, and cucumber ice. It was light and refreshing.
Then it was on to the main event: the food. The menu features a diverse list of shareable Asian plates. Rachel and I ordered the Burmese avocado salad with cucumber, peanuts, and Thai basil; drunk-ass shrimp noodles with Asahi poached shrimp, ramen, and persimmon; Wu Tang tiger style ribs with Thai basil, shallots, and peanuts; the evening’s special, which was a breakfast-style Asian chimichanga made with eggs and Asian sausage wrapped in a fried scallion pancake; and the “shadowless” duck fat hand-cut fries with sriracha aioli.
The avocado salad came out first. It was a nice light start to the meal, but after devouring all of the other rich dishes, it was definitely the low-light of the meal. Then it was on to the night’s special–the chimichanga, which came with a cilantro pesto sauce and mustard sauce. It was crispy on the outside, creamy from the eggs and salty from the sausage on the inside, and the sauces were so good that I asked the waiter to keep our extra on the table so I could find more things to dip them in. The duck fat fries were next on the table. The menu listed a “shadowless” option, and after asking our waiter what that meant, we found out they take their regular fries, smother it in their Bolognese sauce, and drizzle the sriracha aioli on top. Words cannot describe the amazingness of these fries. Were they over-the-top? Yes. Would I get them again in a heartbeat? Absolutely.
The ribs came next. The meat was super tender and the sauce was a tangy bit of deliciousness. There was quite a bit of cartilage attached to the meat, so I had to spend some time picking that out, but other than that, the ribs were a home run. Our final dish were the shrimp noodles, which were actually a last-minute decision for Rachel and I. Turns out, these noodles were the star of the meal. The mix of mini shrimp and ramen was unlike anything I’d ever had before. I was so stuffed at that point in the meal, but I couldn’t stop eating from the bowl.
It may have taken Rachel and I forever to finally get to Shojo, but the wait was definitely worth it. The place was fun, unpretentious, and every dish was incredibly delicious. If you’re looking for a spot to go in Chinatown, do not walk–run–to Shojo. And if you can only order one thing, get those shadowless fries. They may look daunting, but they might just be the best thing you will ever eat.