When that winter chill hits, a warm, comforting bowl of soup is just the ticket. Not just any old mushy soup though — Metro went in search of sexy, scintillating winter soups to make the season sizzle.
At Greenwich Project (47 W. Eighth St., 212-253-9333), chef Carmine Di Giovanni wanted a break from the ubiquitous amber butternut squash or pumpkin soup, and created a sweet potato variety.
"I just wanted to be different,” Di Giovanni says. “A year or so ago when every chef in the city was serving butternut squash soup and pumpkin bisque, Michelin tweeted, ‘Does every chef need to serve the same soup?’ So it got me thinking and, boom, this sweet potato soup was created." The sunny, orange liquid is topped with ancho chili marshmallow for a subtle smoky spice, and maple cream to accentuate the yam’s sweetness.
At Davio’s Manhattan (451 Lexington Ave. 212-661-4810), chef Chad Brown’s roasted tomato soup is finished with julienned basil and chopped parsley, and turns summer flavors into a winter comforter. Its chicken stock base is thickened with cubed rustic Tuscan style bread, which soaks up all the liquid. A crisp goat cheese and chive crostini tops off the lot and adds tangy creaminess. “This is one of my favorites for the winter months,” says Brown. “It’s a comforting soup, but this recipe does not include any cream, so it's not heavy at all. We make this fresh daily to keep those flavors bright.”
In chef Lisa Giffen’s hands at Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Ave. 347-335-0446), cauliflower becomes a velvety soup. Echoing the restaurant’s French-New Orleans style, her cauliflower velouté has Gulf ruby red shrimp and black trumpet mushrooms, which add color and texture to the pale cauliflower puree and lemon cream, which is slowly poured over them tableside.
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“This cauliflower velouté is one of the sexiest soups,” says Giffen. “The whipped lemon cream melts into the dish, enhancing the velvety texture, while the subtle hint of citrus adds to the mouthwatering effect."
Some vegetable soups may sneakily contain meat stock, but at Melvin’s Juice Box at Dream Downtown (355 W. 16th St. 212-229-2336), chef Michael Armstrong does a vegan take on Anglo-Indian mulligatawny soup. His spicy, creamy soup is finished with a colorful dice of roasted zucchini, squash, carrot and currants, and topped with fresh herbs and toasted cashews for some crunchy textures.
“Mulligatawny is a classic soup that’s usually served with chicken or pork, but I like ours much better,” says Armstrong. “It has a flavorful and aromatic vegetable broth with toasted curry powder, red lentils and coconut milk as the base. It’s very hearty and filling, with a hint of spice – the perfect winter dish to keep warm.”