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7 Unique Soups Around the U.S.

By Kelly Dobkin
November 21, 2013

Soup always seems to get overlooked when considering the great dishes at a restaurant, but it's come a long way from its peasant roots as a low-cost ingredient use-up. Chefs increasingly are using the soup medium to experiment with flavors, textures and ingredient combinations that might not work on the plate. Check out some must-try bowls from around the U.S. below.

  • Veloute of Rutabaga, Craigie on Main, Cambridge, MA

    Chef de cuisine Carl Dooley has crafted this velvety soup using seasonal ingredients that don't skimp on flavor. His veloute of rutabaga is topped with crispy duck confit, caraway and sourdough croutons, melding the buttery root vegetable with a salty/fatty duck bite and a crunchy finish.

  • Virginia Oyster Stew, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Miami, FL

    It's pure comfort down at SoBe's Yardbird, which offers a warming take on this Southern staple despite the 80-degree temps. Fresh oysters meld with bacon, vermouth and caramelized onions in this luscious yet homestyle dish.

  • Chicken Consomme, Hospoda, NYC

    At this Czech-inspired New American spot on NYC's Upper East Side, executive chef Rene Stein experiments with ingredients while using a classic soup technique. Putting a spin on the usual chicken consomme, he uses Cornish hen instead, and in place of the usual root vegetables opts for flavors like celery root, hazelnuts and button mushrooms. The result is a pristine broth filled with mild, earthy flavor.

  • Grilled Octopus Soup, Acquerello, San Francisco, CA 

    At this classic SF Italian, chef de cuisine Mark Pensa turns a beloved Italian ingredient, octopus, into a unique and flavorful soup. It features garbanzo beans, potatoes, Fino Verde basil and smoked paprika and results in a delicate and flavorful broth with just the right amount of heft from the grilled tentacles.

  • Photo by: Daniel Swartz / REVAMP.com

    Lemon Parsnip Soup with Maryland Blue Crab, Four Seasons Hotel, Washington DC

    Executive chef Douglas Anderson melds citrus, seafood and root vegetables with his lemon parsnip soup. Combining the earthy white carrots and tart lemon juice with the richness of slow-cooked leeks and blue crab makes for some serious bowl-scraping amazingness.
     

  • Photo by: Steve Hill

    Wor Matzoh for 2, Blue Ribbon Brasserie, NYC

    This is a signature Blue Ribbon dish from the Bromberg brothers, who own several outposts/incarnations of their popular brand throughout NYC. Essentially a kitchen-sink version of matzo ball soup married with a Chinese-inspired soup, it has matzo balls and a bounty of meat, seafood, poultry and vegetables.
     

  • Tuscan Kale Soup at Juni, NYC

    Chef Shaun Hergatt never fails to impress with his mastery of flavors and plating process. His Tuscan kale soup features sprouted lentils, pork neck and organic grains. The savory and hearty combination of flavors is presented in just the right portion. Upon serving, the stunning green broth is poured tableside over top of the artful stack of grains.

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