“Soup of the Evening, Beautiful Soup!” sings the Mock Turtle to Alice, while she adventures in Wonderland. When the chill of winter descends there is nothing so comforting and warming as a bowl of soup. Here is a brief round-up of some of Buffalo’s most beautiful soup offerings, sticking with those that are regularly on the menu. Grab a spoon!
Wonton Soup at Ming Cafe, 3268 Main Street:
Gingery broth, delicate plump wontons, and the untypical, but perfect addition of lots of vermicelli noodles, make this version of the common Chinese menu item uncommonly good. Its listed as an appetizer, but the large portion and huge quantity of noodles, make it a perfect light meal as well. Follow up with the moo shu chicken. You will thank me.
Pho Tai Chin at Pho Dollar, 322 West Ferry Street:
All the pho offerings here come in a bowl bigger than your head, filled with rice noodles and accompanied by the usual pho condiments (basil leaves, greens, sprouts, lime wedges and jalepenos). The Tai Chin includes thin thin slices of rare beef and rich pieces of beef brisket, my personal favorite combination, though you can choose among many. The beefy broth is delicious on it’s own, but a couple of shots of sriracha sauce kick it up, as they say, a notch. Despite the enormous serving I never seem to come away with any leftovers… but arrive hungry!
Tomato Basil Soup at Globe Market, 762 Elmwood Ave.:
This creamy rich tomato soup, perfumed with basil, is the perfect accompaniment for a grilled cheese sandwich, which fortunately is also on the menu. A big step up from what Mom used to provide, but still the ultimate comfort food lunch on a cold day. Globe rotates their soup offerings, but Tomato Basil is usually one of the choices. The Beans and Greens soup is my favorite for runner up, and all soups come with a nice chunk of excellent bread for dunking.
Tortilla Soup at Cantina Loco, 191 Allen Street:
Creamy chicken soup filled with vegetables, hominy and chicken strips, and topped with avocado, this is a hearty first course, with just the right balance of richness and flavor. Fortunately you will still have plenty of room for the Koreatown tacos or at least some excellent guacamole.
Lentil Soup at Kostas Family Restaurant, 1561 Hertel Avenue:
Yes, it’s a Greek Diner, and yes they do have a very good traditional avgolemono soup that is probably a more unusual choice than just basic lentil. But this is what lentil soup is supposed to be, chock full of lentils, but not so thick that you can’t break up your saltine crackers. It’s just a perfect version of a very straightforward dish, and what’s more comforting than that?
Butternut Squash Soup at Rowhouse Bakery and Restaurant, 483 Delaware Avenue:
Just a perfectly delicious, creamy, butternut squash soup, served with a dollop of sour cream in the glorious setting of a converted nineteenth-century brownstone rowhouse. It’s so perfectly seasonal it’s like the Pumpkin Spice Latte of soups. And if you want a pumpkin spice latte there’s a terrific cafe downstairs where you can order one on your way out!