Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Souen (Manhattan)

Souen is an organic macrobiotic restaurant with three locations - SoHo, Union Square, and the East Village. All three locations have their charms, but the East Village is my favorite. Small (maybe 24 seats?), narrow, and hushed, it is a relaxing space to dine in. Upon entering, you duck under sheer cloths hung just above the entryway; as you straighten back up, you're greeted by muted decor, soft lighting, and mellow music - all in direct contrast to the hustle and bustle of narrow E 6th Street outside.

East Village location, early on a Sunday 

While the menu varies a bit from restaurant to restaurant, the basics are the same - and all three are wonderful about food restrictions, able to prepare the majority of the menu items gluten-free. With so many options, I tend to get overwhelmed and default to one of three favorites: The fish entree, macro plate, or sushi. This week I tried something new, the white sesame ramen:

Big bowl of goodness

Souen offers white and brown rice noodles for their gluten-free ramen, as well as add-ins such as meat or fish. (I opted for brown rice noodles and added shrimp.) While there were lots of tasty morsels in there, the broth is the star of this dish - silky smooth, pleasantly briny, with a mild sesame flavor - complex yet comforting. While happy with my choice,  I spent the meal coveting the lunch box my dining companion had ordered:

One of everything, please. 

A beautiful piece of fish (salmon or black cod) with tasty accompaniments, including pickled vegetables and a lovely little salad with seaweed. Souen does fish well and I'm always happy when I order it there. Plus, at $14, the price is so right.

Bottom line: Souen is very gluten-free/allergy friendly and I've never had a problem at any of their three restaurants. They offer healthy, delicious, and SAFE food at very reasonable prices. Highly recommend.

Souen has three locations:  210 6th Ave (at Prince St.), 28 E 13th St. (betw University Pl and 5th Ave), and 326 East 6th St (betw 1st and 2nd Aves). 

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