The thought of Chinatown may evoke more memories of cramped dumpling houses and potential food poison than it does cutting edge cuisine in a hip and modern atmosphere – but that’s exactly what makes Shōjō so special. This trendy, late-night gastropub is decorated with elaborate Boston-themed murals, and is known for its offbeat take on modern Asian fare.
While Shōjō is relatively new on the Chinatown restaurant scene compared to some of its neighbors, its menu of eclectic Asian-inspired cookery and extensive cocktail list has quickly gained it quite the notoriety. Such as being awarded Boston Magazine’s winner of 2015 “Starch Madness,” for best French fries – which are fried in duck fat, and come with a side of Sriracha aioli. A lot of this is a result of Shōjō’s acclaimed executive chef: Mark O’Leary, of Guchi’s Midnight Ramen and The Future of Junk Food.
Compared to the other neon-lit establishments on Tyler Street, Shōjō’s façade is more hidden, behind darkened windows. However, as soon as you step inside, you’re confronted with a loud and lively environment, of parties laughing round intimate tables (most only sit 2-4), and sipping craft cocktails. Which, by the way, is where the restaurant garnered its name. “Shōjō: A Japanese sea spirit with red face and hair and a fondness for alcohol, especially Sake.”
I personally love starting a night out with a group of friends and a round of drinks inside the quirky café that is Shōjō.