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Best Soup?

First, to avoid definitional problems, I'm willing to include anything that has some sort of broth and is eaten from a bowl, whether as an entree (pho, menudo, cioppino) or as a separate course. If it's served in a bowl, but transfered to a plate before eating, or if it doesn't have something liquid enough to count as broth, then it's a stew, and doesn't count. Chili counts, no matter how thick it may be. Other than that, consider the field wide open to all styles and ethnic origins.

Also, given that this thread may become one that will be found in the future by people searching for a general guide to the best available, rather than a commentary on any one soup at any one place, try to put the geographic location of your nomination toward the front of your post, such as "Baltimore - the Fish Tea at Ras Doobie's..." followed by your description of the dish itself, why you like it, or whatever else you're going to say.

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  1. One of my favorites is the white gazpacho at Jaleo in Bethesda. The soup is made with almond milk (I think), lots of lump crapmeat, and grapes--might sound unusual, but it really works!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

      A surprise to me as well -- there's no milk of any kind in the white gazpacho. The base is water and bread. Some garlic, white pepper, olive oil, grapes, almonds, etc.

      I, too, am a fan.

    2. Sweet and Spicy Salmon soup at Nam Viet. I always get the cup size as my appetizer there. Nice clear broth that's slightly sweet from tomato and pineapple (usually pineapple for me is a deal breaker), with nice chunks of salmon and topped with sprouts, cilantro, maybe a couple of other things. Incredible!

      1. ANY soup at Corduroy. Tom Power is a freakin genius when it comes to soup. I've never had a broth there that was anything short of fantastic.

        1. Baltimore- I love the lentil soup at Samos (but the soup choices differ daily, it's frequently there, but not always) other choices are nothing special

          Also, remember having a great cream of crab at Birches a few times, but a few years ago

          Oh-- forgot to mention all the soups from the stand in Belvedere Square Market- (forget what it's really called now)

          1. Cream of chestnut soup at Montmartre.

            Chilled chervil soup at Restaurant Eve.

            Homemade turkey noodle at The Royal.

            1. Baltimore--I've loved every soup I've had at Soups On on the Avenue in Hampden (sp?). It's a lovely oasis (that I keep meaning to post about here) on a street otherwise cluttered with kitschy, mediocre food restaurants and 50's decor and used clothing shops for the hipper than thou.

              1. I'll skip pho...because I know others will cover it.

                Earl's Sandwich Shop (in the former Steff's location) on Wilson in Clarendon uses their own roast beef in their beef soups, which are often daily specials. I had their beef barley soup, and really enjoyed it, but don't know hwo the beef vegetable version is.

                1. Atwater's is the name of the place in Belvedere market. They offer several different soups each day using fresh, fresh ingredients. I love just about everything I've had there.

                  1. Szechuan beef noodle soup at Joe's Noodle House. A cold weather staple for me.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                      I second this! The broth is rich and the little pile of pickled cabbage they add gives great layers of flavor. Can't wait for cold weather now....

                    2. Bailey's crossroads & Chinatown DC locations--shrimp dumpling soup at Full Kee. The broth is light and tasty (and not too salty) and the dumplings themselves are plump and flavorful.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: julialimei

                        Roger that. One of the best deals in town. I also like the roast pork, shrimp and egg noodle soup at Nam Viet, with a side of shrimp toast.

                      2. In Alexandria, any soup at Restaurant Eve is wonderful. I've loved Chef Armstrong's stinging nettle veloute, and his corn veloute, and anything else I've had.

                        1. I love a good Mullugtwany but have not tried it at any of the local Indian places, any reccomendations.

                          This cool wet weather reminds me of Evening Star in Alexandria, had a great butternut squash soup there last fall.

                          1. The first three that come to mind are:

                            French Onion soup at Birches in Baltimore. Best in town IMO. Earlier this year, I had the french onion at Birches just after having the french onion at Brasserie Tatin, and I thought Birches was much better.

                            Won Ton Noodle Soup (either roast duck or roast pork) at Golden Gate in Towson. Best thing on the menu. The wontons are a little smaller than they used to be, but it's pretty close to authentic for me.

                            Shrimp Tempura udon at Asahi Sushi in Fells Point. Yum.

                            1. The cholon noodle soups at Little Saigon on Wilson Blvd just East (or is it north?) of Eden Center. Cholon noodle soups have thin chewy yellow egg noodles. Our favorites are the roast pork and shrimp soup, the roast quail, and the roast duck leg soups. The broth may seem a bit thin at first but it becomes stunningly sweet and rich as it absorbs more and more from the meats.

                              1. Baltimore - cream of crab soup at Bo Brooks in Canton. The cream has a buttery flavor that is better than any I have tasted elsewhere.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Denise

                                  No ones mentions chili yet so I'll throw one out there, Joe squared has a peanut and corn chili that's delicious.
                                  Even though I know this place isn't high on the list for baltimore chowhounds, China town inn on park, has an excellent hong kong wonton. Of course as I type that I remember that the golden gate noodle house out in towson (i can't remember the street) had a better one. oh it looks like someone said that already, well i second it then.

                                  1. re: ryanharrisonsmith

                                    Coincidentally, I was just at Joe2 last night, and tried the chili. I know that many people are saying "peanut and corn"????, but trust me, it works. It's a normal beef/bean/tomato chili, but with small quantities of the "secret ingredients". It sounds weird, but anybody who has a taste for West African food can tell you that a little hint of peanut flavor adds a great deal of subtle depth to stews, or in this case, chili.

                                2. Hmm...I guess nobody on this board goes to the Bread Line.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Joe H

                                    Joe, the problem is that they switch out the soups daily, and change things around, so you can't send someone there for a specific soup.

                                    That said, I like their Gazpacho and Spicy Peanut soups immensely. These days, Gazpacho is on Mondays and Fridays, and Peanut is on Tuesdays.

                                    1. re: Joe H

                                      I'm there all the time, but I haven't found a soup or salad worthy of mention.

                                      1. re: Steve

                                        Unbelievable. Try their tomatillo soup on Tuesday which is SUPERB, also the spicy peanut that Daniel mentioned on Monday and a bean soup that I forget which day it is available. I cannot believe you don't like the Bread Line's soups. I may agree with you about the salads.

                                        1. re: Joe H

                                          Also, Black's in Bethesda has the D. C. area's best Gumbo along with a very good crab gazpacho. Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg does a particularly good job with several soups including an exemplery Gazpacho. Excellent cream of crab soup at the Narrows in Kent Island, Suicide Bridge in Hurlock and Waterman's Crab House in Rock Hall. Jerry's in Lanham has a good cream of crab also. Harrison's on Tilghman Island has a very good red vegetable crab soup.
                                          Kinkead's has a number of excellent soups, too. Citronelle has the best cream of crab and corn chowder I have ever had. I've also had several outstanding soups at Charleston over the years. Black Salt does a good job with all of its seafood based soups/stews as does Kinkead's. Kinkead's Portugeues seafood stew-when available-is outstanding. I'm not sure if these last two fit the description above but they are worth a mention. There is NO worthwhile Cioppino in the D. C. area. Yannick Cam has an outstanding bouillibasse when available.

                                    2. Silver Spring: Matzo ball chicken at Parkway Deli. Good for anything that ails you.

                                      1. It was long ago (probably over ten years), and I have no idea if the chef or the recipe is still there, but I once had a ham and bean soup at Josef's, a German-influenced place north of Baltimore, that was sublime, though under an odd set of circumstances.

                                        A friend and I met for dinner, and in one of those wierd moments one could not have planned, we both showed up wearing the *exact* same pants and shirt, and very similar shoes and socks. Not "sort of the same", like "Khakis and a red golf shirt" - this was the same brand, pattern (plaid shirts or striped shirts, as I recall), color, everything but the size was IDENTICAL. What are the odds, especially considering we lived in different states and did not shop in the same stores? To make matters worse, our overcoats were also VERY similar, though we had at least known that before. Even for guys, who don't usually notice such things, let alone worry about them, this was a bit much.

                                        But as we sat down to dinner, the other memorable thing from that evening came out - the soup. The ham was some sort of honey-smoked stuff, and the beans were very large lima-bean looking thing, but they tasted like no ham or lima bean either of us had ever had. We each tried the soup and our eyes bugged out. It was that good - so good that we were looking at each other, and looking furtively around the room with stupified "This can't be happening" looks on our faces. Finally, my friend asked "Is it just me, or is this soup really *THAT* good?" I said (hesitantly) "I think it's that good. REALLY good. I don't think I've ever had soup this good."

                                        To be honest, I still don't know what happened that night. We hadn't been drinking or otherwise artificially altering our perceptions. As I recall, the entrees were good, but not sublime. Perhaps the combination of surprise, laughter, and embarrassment that both of us experienced upon realizing that we were dressed like dork/geek clones (he's a physicist, I'm an engineer) pumped some sort of strange mixture of adrenaline and endorphins into our systems (the moment was both hilarious and utterly humiliating) that made the first thing we tasted seem much more intensely good than it ever could be under normal circumstances. Maybe it was some weird karma thing, balancing out the fashion sychronicity faux pas with a moment of coincidental culinary bliss.

                                        I don't quite know what happened, but I've never had any soup that tasted so good to me as that soup on that night, though as I note, the same soup may not have had the same effect on another night. And no, I've never been to Josef's since then on a night when that soup was offered as one of the choices, so I never got a chance to see if it tasted that good on a second tasting.

                                        1. Chicken soup from Chutzpah Deli (either in Fairfax or at its new Tyson's Corner location).

                                          Crab bisque from Ray's the Steaks.

                                          French onion soup at Poste.

                                          Green herb soup at Gerard's Places.