We’ve been fans of chef Johnny Chu since the first time we ate at Fate years ago. We loved the Asian tapas at Sens too, but missed the variety of vegan entrées available on the Fate menu. With the opening of SoChu House, we get the best of both worlds – and then some.
For starters, the parking is the best of all three locations. That may sound trivial but I just don’t travel with $3 worth of quarters on me usually. Also, the restaurant is in a larger space that still has a hip look and feel, but is much less cramped.
Chu’s flair for creating intensely flavorful sauces is still in full force on the SoChu menu. Previous favorites such as the red curry with tofu remain, but he’s added some new items and made slight changes to some dishes.
We always enjoyed the wide variety of fried tofu tapas on the Sens menu, but had a hard time picking one dipping sauce over another. The new SoChu Tofu tapas dish comes with two spicy sauces — pineapple ginger and sesame — so we no longer have to choose.
Both dipping sauces are “I will save it to put on my rice later ” good. The pineapple ginger sauce is available on other items, but the sesame sauce is unique to this dish and not to be missed.
Our waitress told us all of the entrées can be made vegan with tofu, and Johnny stopped by to point out other vegetarian options on the menu as well. For the entrees, we tried a previous favorite plus an item that was new to us.
House Dynamite with tofu has been one of our default choices since the days of Fate.
The flavor of the sauce continues to be terrific. It’s spicy with a hint of sweet. However, the kitchen may not be quite dialed-in yet at SoChu House. It was not as delicate as it used to be in terms of the subtlety of the flavor, variety of the vegetable mix and quality of tofu preparation (the breading was a touch soggy).
The Spicy Basil entrée with tofu may look similar to House Dynamite, but the flavor was distinctly different.
I thought it was spicier, and had a more robust, less sweet, sauce. The basil was strong but not overwhelming. Spicy Basil Tofu is also available in the tapas area of the menu, but might be a dipping sauce rather than with vegetables.
For those of you who have loved dining at Fate and Sens over the years – don’t worry, you’re still in safe hands! You can continue to enjoy most of the old favorites, but also try something new. I have my eye on the new Pepper Mint and Chili Citrus entrées, so we will have to head back soon. Or maybe instead we’ll try to get out to Chandler to try Chu’s Tien Wong Hot Pot or to The Mint in Scottsdale, but the Mint doesn’t look quite as vegan-friendly based on the online menu.
Oh and I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the adorable key chains they gave us with the check.
Too cute! I’m guessing they were left over from the grand opening?