I'm no advocate of a macrobiotic diet by any means, but now and then I find it nice to clean out my system from a bounty of cakes, puddings and chocolates. Souen is my go-to "detox" restaurant, in my neighborhood and affordable—especially the $10.50 lunch special. The setting is tranquil as the food, and though you might find a few neurotic, macrobiotic obsessed diners, those are the exception and not the norm.
Start lunch with the caffeine-free Grain Coffee ($3). It's a nutty and mild coffee substitution composed from rye, organic barley and chicory. The "coffee" is served hot with a side of thin maple syrup for extra sweetness. A welcome change, and common favorite among those who are looking to cut out the caffeine from their daily diet.
Take advantage of the $10.50 lunch special, a bargain compared to their normal menu. Pick from the fish specials of the day (salmon and fluke was featured on my particular visit), which is then served, broiled, plain. And then there's the option of two vegetable entrees from a pretty substantial list. If you're vegetarian, bypass the fish, and just pick three of the vegetable dishes for $8.50. From steamed vegetables, to the bean soup of the day, hijiki, tofu in ginger soy, or house-made corn bread, they cover a fairly wide range (within the macrobiotic family, that is!)
I particularly enjoy the Garden Roll, a sort of inside-out roll of avocado, carrots, sprouts and daikon...
...and to go with the broiled fish, Souen's Mix Grains, which changes on a daily basis, is consistently satisfying and surprisingly filling. Pictured above is the sweet rice mixed with rye berries and azuki beans.
After you have finished with the savory, turn your attention to the menu board full of the day's offerings. A wedge of Tofu Cream Cake ($5.50), with stewed strawberries will never replace a "real" cheesecake, but it's a fun break from the norm, just for a day.