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Soup Searching

October 1, 2015

First things first. Thank you to all of you who shared the heck out of the Tour de Cider Donut results post. As of this writing it has already gotten 376 shares on Facebook. That’s huge, and it’s brought a lot of new people into the blog.

So, maybe I can capture a bit of that new energy today. Because today I’m looking to pick your brain on the subject of soup. So close your eyes for a moment, and think cold thoughts.

It’s when you’re cold that soup starts sounding like a great idea for a meal. Just like in summer, all of a sudden, something as light as a salad begins to gain some appeal.

We’re really lucky in the Capital Region to have some great soup places. And we have other places that make decent soup, which for unknown reasons continue to be beloved by many. I’m not going to try and untangle those today. I’m hoping to find something new.

The Asian noodle soup category is full. I don’t need another place for pho, and don’t care to get into the pho debate right now. Taiwan Noodle and Ala Shanghai have great broths and good noodles. Tanpopo has opened up to serve ramen and Sushi Tei has good udon.

I’m not sure why Asia seems to have the lion’s share of soup out here. Deanna Fox wrote lovingly about the French onion soup at The Ginger Man. I’ve heard good things about the borscht at Muza. And I would be willing to bet that Park Side East makes a tasty matzo ball.

What I’m not looking for is a place that has rotating soups on the menu. Lots of restaurants will have a soup of the day. I’m really looking for something more like a signature soup. Good soup is like an old friend, you can always rely on it being there for you.

There has to be a place that makes a mindbendingly good minestrone, or pasta fagioli. Anyone? And what about the classic tomato soup? I remember a chef in Napa who served his under a puff pastry dome, which sounds decadent until you learn how much cream is in the soup.

And surely there are other classic soups to explore.

You just have to be careful, because there are some places that kind of hint the soups are made from scratch, when they are simply purchased and heated up in giant plastic bags. That’s not the soup I’m looking for either.

So, where do you go when the desire strikes and you’re not in the mood for a hot steaming bowl of Asian noodles? And what do you get? I’m really curious to find out.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Jack C. permalink
    October 1, 2015 9:51 am

    I know you said you aren’t looking for rotating soup places, but Saati makes some insanely good soups. Their kale and sausage soup is great, as is their white bean soup. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a bad soup there.

  2. Jack C. permalink
    October 1, 2015 9:53 am

    Also, out of curiosity, where is the best pho in town? I noticed you didn’t list any Vietnamese places in the list of Asian options. (Haven’t had pho in the capital region yet, so I’m not trying to start an argument.)

  3. Debra permalink
    October 1, 2015 10:39 am

    Most recently I had the Tomato Crab Bisque at Smith’s of Cohoes. It was very tasty and they claim it’s their ‘signature’ soup. I actually didn’t eat much dinner after just a cup of this soup, it was quite filling (with oyster crackers).

  4. Jessica R W permalink
    October 1, 2015 12:30 pm

    I recommend the Kielbasa Chowder at Muza. Also, it’s probably not made in-house, but the tomato bisque with grilled cheese at Wolf’s 99 is awesome.

    And the Whistling Kettle in Troy has the best selection of rotating soups!

    • Debra permalink
      October 1, 2015 1:49 pm

      Do you mean Wolf’s 111? (on Wolf Road?)

    • SoupLover permalink
      October 5, 2015 5:09 am

      Whistling Kettle sells pre-made bagged soup. It’s very good but not made fresh in house.

      • October 5, 2015 8:17 am

        I wonder if this has changed now that they have brought on a new chef.

  5. October 1, 2015 1:33 pm

    I’ve always loved the homemade Chicken Orzo at Spillin The Beans across from the atrium in Troy. Plus, their seasoned house made croutons; always have to order an extra serving.

    The Placid Baker makes some really great bisque. They rotate but they all appear weekly.

  6. Pam C. permalink
    October 1, 2015 2:18 pm

    The Ale House in Troy has always had delicious homemade soups. I don’t know if they claim any to be their signature, maybe the clam chowder…but the hamburger soup is unique and very tasty if they have it.

  7. llcwine permalink
    October 1, 2015 2:29 pm

    I’ve had some fabulous soups at the Tugboat Tavern in Cohoes…all homemade and all yummy!!! Also some great onion soup at Otis and Oliver’s in Latham.

  8. Erin T permalink
    October 1, 2015 3:17 pm

    Perhaps it says something about the quality of restaurant tomato soup, or about the quality of Honest Weight’s kitchen, but the best (non-pho) soup I have had in years was a few weeks ago at Honest Weight. It was a vegan tomato soup and had the perfect amount of spice and yummy tomato flavor. As someone who cannot eat cream-based soup, it is really hard to get delicious soup at a restaurant.

  9. October 1, 2015 4:32 pm

    You should check out Blessings Tavern in Colonie, they have tons of soups and even offer soup flights.

  10. Matt permalink
    October 1, 2015 8:13 pm

    I say this as someone who loves Park Side Eatery. Someone who thinks their Rubens rival anyone’s anywhere. But their matzah ball soup sucks. Their broth is good they just way over-parsley their matzah balls. Their other soups are good and, as a Jew, I am very happy to have my people’s food represented so well up here. But their knadlach is (sadly) bad.

  11. Eric T permalink
    October 4, 2015 12:49 pm

    Matt, while the matzah ball soup at Park Side isn’t a personal favorite, I love their clam chowder, which seems to include equal portions of milk and butter. Maybe not the healthiest, but yum.

    • Eric T permalink
      October 4, 2015 5:51 pm

      Oops. I realize that Park Side rotates its soups.

  12. Ell permalink
    October 4, 2015 1:57 pm

    Bountiful Bread has a great tomato pesto soup and it’s available daily.

  13. October 13, 2015 6:55 pm

    I was just remember an amazing bowl of pos(z?)ole i got at the Ruck, and then also about your soup search post. It was really reallly good.

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