I’ve been wanting to visit this place for a while because of it’s intriguing premise. Medicine Eatstation in the Crocker Galleria in San Francisco, serves a type of cuisine called “shojin” style Japanese food, but with a modern twist. Shojin is the ancient food of Buddhist temples where they believe food is medicine. Sort of takes all the fun out of eating, but I’ll give it a shot.
The restaurant is heaven for vegans, but they recently added some protein “add-ons” to the menu. The decor is thoroughly modern Japanese with its stark white walls and its zen-like space. The light wood rectangular tables exemplify the clean lines of the place.
Service is friendly and helpful. They seem happy enough to answer any questions. The food is Japanese, but the ingredients, presentation and innovative preparation are what make it different. They also offer refrigerated ready to go bento box options, as well.
All their ingredients are organic, locally grown, sustainable, and healthful. Their preparations truly highlight the freshness and flavor of quality vegetables. I had the Wild Mushroom Ramen with a side of Sweet-soy Marinated Whitefish for protein. The mushrooms, carrots and peas were bright with flavor and their preparation highlighted their pure natural sweetness and farm-fresh texture. The noodles were perfectly chewy but firm, and the broth had a classic smoky soy flavor. But as with a lot of Japanese food, it was a bit too salty.
The fish was delicately mild and tenderly fried. The tempura-esque batter was so light that it broke apart with the first bite. It was so light and mild that it bordered on bland. But it was its texture that made the dish. Only the accompanying sweet soy-like dipping sauce gave it the extra punch of flavor it so needed.
The worst thing about this place is that it isn’t cheap and the portions are far from hearty. But the dishes are pretty to look at with their artfully stark and simple presentation.
It’s definitely worth a try just for the experience. But $16 for a small bowl of pretty ramen and four tiny pieces of delicately fried fish isn’t my idea of a practical, affordable lunch.
Medicine New-Shojin Eatstation – 161 Sutter St. – S.F. – 415.677.4405