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While it’s hard to quantify whether today’s weather as “a big snow,” it’s easy to agree that today is a great day for soup. For me, a giant bowl of soup with chunky vegetables—with some sort of cream base—always seems like a great idea as winter weather sets in. But I’ve been in the mood for something healthy. (Just seeing photos from Scott Reitz‘s Young & Hungry bar-food adventures makes me feel 10 to 15 pounds heavier.)

For lunch today, I finally got to try out the recently opened Litestars, which has set up shop on L Street NW just west of 21st Street, which bills itself as “the bistro of the future.”

It’s probably too early to assess the chances that claim will come true, but Litestars’ approach, “that eating healthier and controlling portions have become an increasingly important part of life for people of all ages,” is refreshing. And the trademarked “soupdrink” I consumed earlier this afternoon, devised by French chef Annie Leconte, was equally refreshing.

After I walked into Litestars, I was warmly greeted by at least three staff members. I queued up in front of the big electronic display screens at the three stations for tartlets, salads, and soupdrinks. I was urged to sample the different flavors. I settled on the Twister, which is a blended mix of eggplant, yellow onions, garlic, and “litestars spices,” whatever those are.

A 12 oz. container of the Twister soupdrink clocks in at 285 calories and is priced at $2.15. (Calorie information is prominently displayed, allowing consumers to make healthy decisions. The 20 oz. Twister has the most calories of anything listed on the menu, coming in at 595 calories.)

While the soup was blended to a consistency that you could easily drink from the container—hence, soupdrink—it was hearty, warm, and fresh. But I found it a bit flat in flavor. Looking around for some salt or pepper, I instead found a container of “Litestars Seasoning,” a zesty mix that was not overpowering. But it did give the Twister a little more depth I was looking for.

Like I said, it’s a great day for soup. But I also decided to try a salad, which is priced per pound or by entree size. I tried the Soybean Chicken, which in addition to the soybeans and grilled chicken, comes with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, crumbled reduced fat feta cheese, canola oil, cider vinegar and Litestars spices, with a side of balsamic dressing. That particular salad (entree portion priced at $7.10) is gluten free, like all of the soupdrinks.

I often times find myself disappointed with salads when I’m dining out when I know that I can make something creative and wonderful at home. The dining-out salad preparation process often leads to big temperature differences between the lettuce base and the toppings, which can often be frigid. While my salad had nice flavor and crunchy texture (from the soybeans), the frigidness wasn’t all that pleasing.

But from this initial visit, there’s certainly more to try here and lot to like about the health-minded approach. Litestars also serves breakfast. For L Street NW office workers or weather-weary commuters using the Foggy Bottom-GWU station, it’s a nice option to have nearby.

Photo by Michael E. Grass