501 W. Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90015
Phone: (213) 988-8808
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The Los Angeles Foodie Rating:
LA Foodie was invited to try this new shabu-shabu restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. Yojie Japanese fondue and sake bar is a relaxing and fun respite from the traffic, noise, and bustle of downtown Los Angeles. Shabu-shabu (with plain water), sukiyaki (with broth), and fondue (dessert chocolate) are all offered. Menu prices are reasonable for what you get, but some will probably find them on the pricier side. In my opinion, you get what you pay for here at Yojie, as the high quality of the ingredients seems to be a priority.
The creators of Yojie clearly spent time putting together a calm, relaxing space. While the restaurant isn’t terribly large, Yojie manages to pack-in quite a few tables and booths that all surround a central bar that offers full shabu-shabu service at every seat. But instead of feeling crowded, the vibe of the restaurant is calm, spacious, and relaxed. This is no small feat, and the pleasant atmosphere elevates the dining experience. They appear to feature local artists, and I enjoyed the wall decor. It compliments the restaurant’s design nicely. Yojie is located on a busy street corner in downtown Los Angeles, which might make some people fret about parking options, but I found plenty of metered street parking, and there is a large lot across the street for which Yojie provides validation.
I’m not a culinary expert on the shabu-shabu style, but Yojie doesn’t appear to be innovating much. They have simply chosen to take a fun and interactive eating experience and attempted to be the best at it. I applaud their efforts — it shows. The sake and soju cocktails are a fun way to tie on a little buzz while you are waiting for your food. I sampled the “sake sangria” and the “sweet nothing” lychee cocktails. With lunch, I was brought an iced green tea that was served with a little simple syrup sidecar that allows one to dial-in the preferred level of sweetness.
I like that on each table is a quick “101″ primer on how to properly eat shabu-shabu.
I got an assortment of meats, fish, and vegetables. The beef was excellent, and the veggies and noodles were great too. The fish didn’t knock my socks off, and I’ll probably skip it next time. But the real winner (and I’m just as surprised as you) was the chicken. Normally bland and boring, chicken was the perfect meat for this style of dining. While the beef will be hard to turn away, I’m certainly going for another chicken platter on my next visit. There is no denying that the veggie and noodle platter was the coolest looking.
And last but far from least was the dessert platter. I was absolutely stuffed from lunch, but my hosts insisted that I try the green tea chocolate fondue… and man am I glad I did. They have a sugar-free version of the green tea chocolate that I did not try, so if you have an opinion on it, please post in the comments below. Dessert was incredible. The fruits were ripe, and the assorted morsels chosen for dipping were varied in texture and flavor. Definitely don’t skip dessert.
Click on the photo above (the artistic plate of veggies) to view the entire Yojie set on Flickr.
I’m unable to grade the service since I was an invited guest, but I had friendly interactions with everyone I met.