Photo by Jenn Ocken

Dish: Soji’s Mushroom Mapo

Since it opened in July on Government Street, Soji has drawn throngs of Baton Rouge diners eager for house-made noodles and umami-rich bites. “We wanted to create exotic but approachable dishes that delivered on quality,” says Chef Ryan André, who launched the concept with restaurateur Chase Lyons. André developed Soji’s base menu over a six-month period, incorporating ideas from a two-week research trip to Thailand and a deep appreciation for the culinary styles of Southeast Asia, the Pacific Rim, India and Japan. The Mushroom Mapo is André’s take on a traditional tofu-based Szechuan dish, but instead of tofu, he uses two types of mushrooms prepared differently. Lion’s Mane mushrooms from Mushroom Maggie’s Farm in St. Francisville are sautéed, and King Trumpet mushrooms from an Asian market are ground. They’re bathed in a sauce of fermented chili paste, potato starch and Szechuan peppers. Those rich flavors are balanced by fried rice, local micro-greens, crispy shallots and pickled ginger. The dish is vegan friendly.

Eat at Soji
5050 Government Street

Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.