If “vegetarian” is the last adjective you would want appended to the word “ramen,” then “macrobiotic” must be the second-to-last. Organic and macrobiotic Japanese restaurant Souen, with locations in Soho and Union Square, opened a ramen shop this past spring in the East Village. While most ramen lovers associate the satisfying noodle soup with its rich broth flavored with any number of fatty animal parts, a good number have to seek out meatless versions, which are hard to come by in establishments that pride themselves of properly made ramen.
Enter Souen Noodle.
The bowls are bursting with sprouts, seaweed, daikon, carrots, cabbage, scallions, and organic whole wheat noodles. The Miso Ramen is hearty, but needs a healthy splash of the red pepper sitting in the condiments tray. The Black Sesame Ramen is heady and savory, and needs no extra flavorings whatsoever. For those who eat meat, nothing can compare to a fat-cloudy bowl of pork-based ramen, but vegetarians will experience no shame in taking their meat-eating friends to Souen Noodle.
Nearly everything on the menu pairs wonderfully with the house organic nama (draft) sake. The only question mark left at the end of the meal is how dangerously overfished Chilean sea bass got to be the only non-veggie option available. An odd choice for an otherwise thoughtful menu.
Souen Noodle, 326 East Sixth Street, 212-388-1155
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 28, 2009
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