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Good, Clean Eating at Souen (13th Street)

Last night, my friend and I had a lovely dinner at Souen, at the restaurant’s 13th Street location. I had never been. Out of curiosity, I read everything I could find about the restaurant on the Internet. My search yielded some very mixed results.

I loved it, but it’s possible that I only loved this place because it appeals to my personality; the food is healthy but still tasty and creatively prepared, the restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes and price points, the decor is eclectic and homey, the service is not pretentious, and the people that eat here are generally laid-back and interesting to watch.

My friend and I had a really difficult time deciding what to order because everything on the menu sounded so good! Finally, we decided to share a salad as an appetizer. We chose the Chef salad (broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, daikon, avocado, cucumber, sprout, yam, and seaweed on a bed of mesclun with choice of carrot or oil-free sesame dressing, $8). This salad is definitely for sharing! The bowl was the size of a large fruit serving bowl, and the veggies were plentiful and artfully arranged. Everything was fresh; the avocado tasted especially good! We both remarked on how perfectly ripe the sliced avocado was. I also really liked the carrot-ginger dressing that we chose, which was served in a dish on the side; it was tangy, thick and subtly sweet, a perfect complement to the freshness of the veggies.

We both ordered the Tahini-noodle (cold buckwheat noodle, carrot, daikon, cucumber, sprout with tahini sauce, $5). I loved this! The noodles were firm and chewy, and the tahini sauce that was drizzled over them tasted decadent. The sesame seeds added a toasty flavor to this dish. This is definitely comfort food for the health-conscious.

In addition, we both also ordered the small fish plate ($8). My friend ordered fluke, the fish of the day, and I ordered salmon broiled with teriyaki sauce. The serving size was very small, about half of a normal serving, but the quality of the fish was excellent. My fish was subtly flavored with teriyaki, which brought out the smooth texture of the fresh salmon. It was cooked perfectly. I enjoyed every bite!

I regret nothing about this place except that my friend and I didn’t order different dishes so that I could have tasted some other items on the extensive, diverse menu. I would absolutely, positively come back to Souen for clean food at a reasonable price.

What do other people think?

Jun 24, 2008
ryssiebee in Manhattan

Best Diners in Westchester

I went to Mont Olympos (no joke, that's how it's spelled), and I thought it was pretty good! I had a chicken cordon bleu wrap i think, and I was pleased with it.

Morris County recommendations

I like Nikko on Route 10 ( in East Hanover for Sushi. I second Tasi's recommendation for Saigon House on Route 10 for great Vietnamese food. I hope they're not going to become a Thai restaurant (not that anything is wrong with Thai; I just think the food is great now!). I don't know of any Cuban places, but you could try The Great Wazu on Route 46 in Parsippany for the best excuse for a Cuban sandwich and many other tasty (though overpriced) sandwiches. No brunch or coffee places that I can think of, though I think in Montclair (Essex county) there are some good brunch places.

Eh, Morris County sucks. And this is coming from a girl who grew up there and has a soft spot for the place.

Keep us posted!

Jersey City best Filipino restaurant

I'm actually living in Journal Square this summer, but I'm intimidated by the Filipino restaurants, mostly because I have no idea what to try! I really do want to explore the options though. Do you have recommendations for specific restaurants/dishes? I've been to the Filipino grocery store, but I'm never sure what to get.

Horrible Meal at Counter

Last night, I went to Counter, the vegetarian restaurant on the Lower East Side. It was my friend's birthday, which meant her choice, and I didn't mind going wherever she wanted even though I'm not vegetarian and generally try to stay away from meat-free restaurants. I have had some great vegetarian meals in the past though, so I tried to get excited about the restaurant and decided to have a positive attitude. Totally backfired.

Before I criticize everything, I will say that the restaurant had really good bread: thinly sliced mini loaf of whole wheat with what seemed to be some sort of tomato-ey crust. Also, they served olive oil with shredded tofu and cilantro to dip. I really enjoyed that, and I ate a lot of it because the food to come left me very hungry.

I decided to do a soup and salad for my meal, mostly because none of the entrees enticed me. Also, I probably wouldn't have been much more satisfied with a $20 dish comprised mostly of vegetables than I would with a soup and salad.

I started with the Parisian-style chevre salad. I love chevre so this really jumped out at me. This is how the menu describes the dish: baby spinach, mango and pistachio crusted goat cheese with citrus dressing ($12). This is what came out of the kitchen: a normal sized salad plate with a few baby spinach leaves, some baguette croutons, one orange segment, an indecipherable dressing, and four goat cheese medallions the size of dimes. I was really disappointed, mostly because I was interested by the mango. When I asked the waiter about it, he took my salad away and brought it back to the kitchen. "The kitchen says that the mango wasn't fresh enough to put on the salad so they left it out," he reported. Oh. Luckily, he said he would comp. me the salad so that made me feel a little better.

For the soup, I ordered the roasted butternut squash soup with wild mushroom dumpling thing. My birthday friend ordered the market salad, which looked like any generic house salad. For $7 I guess it was alright, if you want a general salad. As entrees, my two dining companions ordered the Italian farmhouse panini (walnut-lentil pate, plum tomato, rosemary aioli on crunchy bread) and the wheat penne and pine nut pesto (broccoli rabe, sundried tomatoes and roasted portobello mushrooms). I didn't try either of those, but I got a chance to look at them for a long time because my soup took forever to arrive. The waiter explained "Oh, they made the wrong soup so they are making the correct one now." The farmhouse panini was very large and looked okay I guess, just a lot of heavily toasted bread. The penne looked pretty gross to me, the broccoli rabe just filled the pasta bowl lifelessly like some seaweed that washed up on the Jersey shore.

My friends were halfway through their entrees when my soup finally arrived. Luckily, it was a giant bowl. I was hungry. The mushroom dumpling thing was questionable. It was crispy and fried with a sweet dumpling crust. I couldn't really taste the mushroom filling. But the soup itself was good, among the best of the butternut squash soups that I have tried.

Birthday girl got a chocolate tart for dessert, but I am strictly against eating dessert food that is vegan. There is something wrong with that in my mind. Anyway, I just got a coffee. The waiter forgot to bring it and I have to remind him, which is fine because he said he would brew me a new pot. When he brought my coffee, the cup had pretty much spilled all over the saucer, with grinds galore floating in the top of the cup and in the mess on the saucer. I didn't want to bother him anymore, but I did not want to drink grinds. He took it back and brought me another cup. The coffee was actually good, but it was too much effort to get it.

This place is way overpriced for the food that they serve. It is absolutely not worth the prices. I am glad I got my salad free because I was annoyed about how bad it was and how poorly represented it was by the menu.

It seems like it might be fun to go here for drinks and try their small plates? They have an extensive drink menu, even a $600 martini.

Anyone else been here? Was it just a bad night for me?

Jun 11, 2008
ryssiebee in Manhattan

Josies-Suggestions for tonight?

Ooo, this reply is a little late, but I just wanted to say that I really like Josie's! What I have noticed about the atmosphere is that it's typically a girly hangout. I've been there numerous times with my best girlfriend, and we always remark on how many other women are in the restaurant, most of them talking about men. I've been to both the east and west locations. I like their commitment to serving healthy, fresh, clean food. Things that I've tried and enjoyed: the roasted butternut squash soup, the macadamia nut crusted chicken salad, the chicken teriyaki, and the turkey meatloaf. Also, I really like the lemon ribbon ice cream pie! I haven't tried the sushi or any of the mixed drinks, but they have an interesting selection. Let me know about your experience/what you tried.

Jun 10, 2008
ryssiebee in Manhattan

Dessert--just dessert--in or near Montclair?

For dessert, you could try Cafe Eclectic on Bloomfield Avenue. This is a coffee and dessert place mostly, with a dark coffeeshop atmosphere and an eclectic mix of furniture. They have a rotating menu of cakes and cookies and brownies and pies in a glass case at the front. The coffee drinks and milkshakes are good. Not fabulous, but a good option. Here is the website:

Also, you could try Applegate Farms ice cream. This is not a sit-down place, but the ice cream is fabulous and an inexpensive option for daughters on a budget.

Happy Birthday to Me in New Jersey

Thank you all for your recommendations! I decided to go with Tasi's suggestion. We went to South City Grill in Mountain Lakes. What a great choice! The meal was wonderful, and our waiter was great. I had a lovely salad, the chef's special: arugula, dried cherries, goat cheese, apples, pears, and I think it was a plum vinaigrette. Also I had the filet mignon with veggies. My mom and brother enjoyed their meals too. I was very pleased! =)

Thanks again! I will have to make a point to sample all your recommendations this summer.

Happy Birthday to Me in New Jersey


I just moved back home, to New Jersey, two days ago, after living in the DC metro area for the past year. I was never thrilled with the northern New Jersey dining scene, but I hope to make the best of the area's food this summer.

Today is my birthday, and my mom and brother have offered to take me out to dinner, my choice. Neither of them are Chowhounds so they don't have any particular suggestions or ideas. I don't know where to go! My favorite place around here is Saigon House on Route 10 in East Hanover; I actually asked my boyfriend to take me there last night, as an early birthday good!

If it were your birthday, and your family was treating you, where would you go? I like all types of cuisines, and I'm open to most anywhere in Bergen, Essex, Passaic, and Morris counties. Help me have the best birthday meal ever! =)

Thanks in advance!

Other Whole Grains to Experiment With?!

The Whole Foods in my neighborhood makes a wheatberry salad with shredded, sauteed kale, dried goji berries, red onion, and an olive oil type dressing. However, they don't sell wheatberries! I haven't been able to find them anywhere, and I've looked in many specialty and health food type stores. Where do you buy them?

Apr 02, 2008
ryssiebee in Home Cooking

Yellowfin Tuna from Grocery Store


I was at the grocery store late last night, trying to pick up for dinner today, and the yellowfin tuna steaks looked alright. I usually do not buy tuna from the grocery store because I like to indulge in high-quality seared tuna at restaurants or raw in sushi. However, I was really tired, and the price was right. Now I am questioning my decision. I know that it's pointless to cook a tuna steak to "well-done", but how do I know that the tuna from the grocery store is fresh enough to sear safely? It says "previously frozen" on the package; does that mean it's any more or less fresh? What would be the best way to cook this piece of fish and how should I flavor it?

Am I just overthinking this? Any ideas are much appreciated!

Mar 27, 2008
ryssiebee in Home Cooking

Cafe Spice in Towson

Well, I know you're not talking about the Spice Market, but just as a side note, I went there in December for lunch and it was pretty freaking horrible. Like "this is a joke" horrible. Just thought I'd mention that.

Do Calories on Menus Really Help?

Personally, if I knew that a restaurant was listing its calories on the menu, I would probably avoid eating there. I would probably have a tendency to order based on nutritional vallue more than by what I really wanted. I mean, I wouldn't order whatever had the least calories but I might think twice if what really made my mouth water had one of the highest calorie counts. And that's no way to live because if you're going out to eat and paying the money for it, you might as well get what you like and eat it sensibly, ie don't stuff yourself. This is just another way to make people anxious about their lives and too fixated on numbers. I already have a tough enough time trying to remain free of this rigid anxiety, and I don't need to be staring at sterile numbers when I look at a menu.

Mar 09, 2007
ryssiebee in Not About Food

Roland Park carryout suggestions

Which Chinese food takeout do you like, BmoreHound? I tend to avoid getting Chinese food altogether until I'm home from college in northern NJ because I think it's pretty much all gross in Baltimore. Chow Mein Charlie's seems the freshest of what I've tried. I like Cafe Zen too, but it's too far to just get takeout.

Roland Park carryout suggestions

I like the Chinese food at Chow Mein Charlie's on Cold Spring Lane. It's high-quality, for sure. Definitely not as fancy as Petit Louis but good for sitting in front of the tv.

Favorite Things to do with Ground Turkey

I like to mix a pound of extra lean ground turkey with a lipton onion soup mix packet and make turkey burgers. They are really tasty and people will wonder how you seasoned them so deliciously.

Mar 01, 2007
ryssiebee in Home Cooking

Baltimore, trapped in Inner Harbor, HELP!?

Um, I just wanted to tell you to be a little more excited about staying in Baltimore. You make it sound like a prison sentence. Enjoy the place while you're here. Try Ixia in Mount Vernon.

Food on the Way to 930 Club

Thank you so much for the recommendations. We ended up eating at Duffy's. The burgers were good, and it was so close to the club that it worked out really well. The Guster concert was out-of-this world, by the way...just to throw that in there.

Food on the Way to 930 Club

My friend and I are driving from Baltimore to Washington D.C. this evening to see a show at the 930 club, which is located at 815 V St. N.W. (intersection of 9th, V and Vermont streets.). Does anyone know of anywhere good to stop on the way for some quick, delicious and inexpensive food? I would really appreciate your suggestions. Thank you!

Most palatable diet sodas?

I think i drink way too much diet dr. pepper. someone needs to help me stop!

Feb 26, 2007
ryssiebee in General Topics

Best store bought healthy bread?

Personally, I always get the Pepperidge Farm 12 Grain. It's kind of sweet-tasting, soft and hearty. I like whatever seeds they put on the crust. Not fancy like everyone else's suggestions but pretty easy to find.

Feb 26, 2007
ryssiebee in General Topics

Truffle oil - what's it best with?

I had this really great dish the other night at a restaurant. It was seared duck over mushroom risotto, and there was definitely truffle oil in the risotto. All the flavors were very deep and paired wonderfully together.

Feb 23, 2007
ryssiebee in General Topics

Describe your favorite Ice Cream Sundae

This is going to make me super depressed because I can't help think about ice cream sundaes without thinking about summer...miss it!
My favorite:
Vanilla ice cream, soft-serv or good quality depending on how I feel
Real hot fudge
Heath Bar crumbles
A massive mound of whipped cream

Bring it on!

Feb 20, 2007
ryssiebee in General Topics

Any Baltimore-area diners worth the drive?

Eww. Don't you dare go to the Papermoon Diner.
I like the Nautilus Diner on York Road in Timonium. I brought a fellow Jersey friend there, and he was pleased. It's the only diner I like around here.

Baltimore 22nd Birthday

Thanks for all the responses. I actually decided on Neo Viccino, which none of you recommended, but I definitely considered each suggestion. The food at Viccino was pretty good, but the service was a little off. What's cool is the complimentary valet parking. One thing our party had a good laugh at was my friend John's comment about how his Italian sausage and peppers dish tasted like maple syrup. Apparently they used breakfast sausage in his dish. Make your judgements accordingly..

Where do you do your grocery shopping in Baltimore??

I mean the Giant in the shopping center by Fortunato's and next to Well's liquors. It's just so disorganized there.

Best Sushi in Northern NJ

There's this place on Route 10 in East Hanover that I really like. It's called Nikko.

Feb 10, 2007
ryssiebee in New Jersey

Where do you do your grocery shopping in Baltimore??

Superfresh on 41st St. Wegman's when I feel like hiking over to Hunt Valley. Avoid at all costs the Giant on York Road - it's a trainwreck of a grocery store.

Baltimore 22nd Birthday

Hi all,
I've been reading this site forever, but I've never posted anything. These past few days, I've become desparate for suggestions. My roommate and good friend is turning 22 this Saturday, and there are about 7 of us who want to take her out to dinner. The current suggestion floating around is California Pizza Kitchen in Hunt Valley for Saturday night, but I refuse to go - last weekend, we tried to eat there, but the wait was an hour and a half. I am not waiting that long for CPK. She's really into Italian, Japanese, or whatever good. The problem is the number of people - we need somewhere that's reasonably priced and accomodating to a wide variety of tastes. Also, something memorable. Please help! I shudder at the thought of waiting an hour and a half at CPK.
Thank you so much!