Sensational SoChu House: a vegan-friendly hot spot near downtown Phoenix

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.

SoChu Tofu

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.

SoChu House Dynamite with tofu

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.

SoChu Spicy Basil Tofu

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.

SoChu House key chain frontSoChu House Key chain back

Too cute! I’m guessing they were left over from the grand opening?



Filed under downtown Phoenix, vegan food, vegan Phoenix

5 responses to “Sensational SoChu House: a vegan-friendly hot spot near downtown Phoenix

  1. Erica @ Cult Of Kale

    Those are cute! I’ve never heard of this place before. I feel like I’ve been living in a little vegan bubble for the past year. When we dine out, we mostly go to Green, Loving Hut or Tsom. This weekend we experienced two new places: nami and Tediberto’s. Can’t wait to try this place looks yummy!

    • 4legsgood

      Ah Tediberto’s… of the five or so times I’ve tried to go there, they’ve only been open once. And then they served me the wrong thing… so I’m holding back on writing something up until I feel like I’ve given them a fair taste. I tried again Sunday… but ended up at Nami (yet again) for brunch. What do you like at Loving Hut? My attempts there have been fail but maybe I haven’t found the sweet spot. You need to try Chakra4 ASAP though if you haven’t het – it’s not entirely vegan but just about everything can be made vegan. And Fresh Mint in north Scottsdale is a must as well!

  2. Thanks for the headsup on this place. I’ve always been sad I never got to visit Fate. I’ve been wanting to try Tediberto’s but have been afraid of exactly what you experienced. At Loving Hut, I adore the Sage Lemongrass aka the Golden Beauty depending on which location you are at, plus the House Fried Rice or Blissful Fried Rice, and the Golden Vermicelli in Glendale is awesome.

    • 4legsgood

      We tried to go to Tedi’s once again last Friday but alas… closed at 7:30 p.m. No problem. Green still had Big Wacs. However, the new enchiladas are calling me, so like Charlie Brown with the football, I will try again this weekend. If not, then maybe we’ll try your tips on Loving Hut! I highly recommend the happy hour at Sochu btw. $5 Sochu tofu and $5 tofu papaya salad. Washed down with a $5 cocktail and you are good to go!

  3. Pingback: Sens: Sensational Spice in Downtown Phoenix | Four Legs Good

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