Sen Organic Small Plate - Richmond, VA

The Sophisticated Eater was found in Richmond, Virginia's capitol, to participate in the wedding of a beloved friend. The wedding was beautiful but post-celebration, The SE's attention was focused on more immediate concerns, such as: Where to eat? What to eat? Does Richmond have dairy-free/vegan-ish options?

These questions were soon answered by a resounding yes. Nestled in the Carytown fan district lies a glorious little Vietnamese fusion establishment called Sen Organic Small Plate. This boho spot is bright and tidy, with just a touch of trendy. An industrial-chic garage door window swings opens to reveal a line of open-air bar seating that evokes feelings of tranquility and oneness with nature (cue car horns blaring down the street).

The SE ordered an organic iced *vegan* cocoa at the register and picked up a menu. The SE mosied over to nearby table for deliberations. This being a Vietnamese joint, there were no expectations of grandeur, but mon dieu! What is this? More than one vegan offering?! Coconut ice cream?! The SE decided on a soup called "The Master Sone Pot" pho and received a word of warning from staff that this bowl is generally shared. Oops. Not backing down, The SE registered a quick mental reminder to do a stand-up test* before ordering dessert. 

Soon after it arrived at the table, The SE realized that the Master Stone Pot pho is seriously not for the faint hearted. Tomahawk-sized beef brisket short ribs are slow cooked for six hours and brought to the table in a large earthenware bowl. Fresh basil, onions, and cilantro are piled on top of the broth, further announcing the fact that yes...this is a huge bowl of soup. 

Once slight feelings of embarrassment over ordering this monstrous bowl for one were overcome, The SE was able to more closely inspect the soup. The SE's eyes immediately picked up the sheen of large oil drops on the surface of the broth, eliciting feelings of dread. As The SE slowly lifted up the first spoonful of broth, several questions immediately came to mind: Was Sen Organic trying to overcompensate for cheap, subpar broth by adding lots of oil to coat the taste buds? Was this going to be a classic tale of cute and promising on the outside, but fake and not-actually-authentic-Vietnamese food on the inside? 

Thankfully, it was not. The SE let out a sigh of relief. Fresh, bold flavors rounded out a deep beefy-broth. Perhaps a little heavier on the cinnamon than the SE prefers, but still within an acceptable range. The thick-cut beef was delicately tender, and the noodles were chewy and al dente. All of these factors came together to form a balanced soul-warming bowl of soup.

The SE resisted the temptation to finish off more soup than would be healthy in order to taste the organic rossie apple with local coconut ice cream for dessert. This would be the piece de resistance of the whole visit. As good as the pho was, the visit would have been perfectly justified for this dish alone. Paper thin slices of apple were rolled up in between flakey layers of puff pastry, making it look just like une petit rose. This beautiful patisserie was organic, vegan, and 100% to die for. 

The Master Stone Pot (DF). Vegan Pho option available. 

Organic Iced Cocoa

Open-air bar seating

Organic Rossie Apple with Local Coconut Ice Cream. 
*July 26, 2021 Edit: This item has since been removed from their menu. Boo.

*Stand-up test: A 100% scientifically sound method one can use to gauge fullness, where one simply stands up. If you now feel full, it's probably time to stop eating.

Sen Organic is open daily from 11:30am - 9:30pm (Sunday - Thursday) and 11:30am  - 10:00pm (Friday - Saturday) at 2901 W Cary Street. Sen Organic is closed on Tuesdays. Limited indoor and outdoor seating available, call ahead for large parties.

Pinky's up, fellow SE's!

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