Quest for Rye’s Best: Vegetable Soup

On a chilly January afternoon, I tasted four vegetable soups on a quest for Rye’s best.

Though the city of Rye is small in size, it has lots to offer, from small boutiques and neighborhood restaurants on Purchase Street to cafes that serve a wide variety of soups. 

In an attempt to explore everything the city has to offer, Rye Patch is launching a monthly feature that will compare local favorites--from Rye's best slice of pizza to its best dessert offerings.

Since the weather outside is a bit frightful, I decided to venture to Rye on a chilly January afternoon to warm up at some of the city's most well-known cafes and lunch destinations. I tasted four vegetable soups on a quest for Rye's best:

Patisserie Salzburg, celebrated for its Viennese coffee and Austrian pastries, also serves an elaborate lunch fare.  I joined the women-who-lunch and tried a cup of roasted tomato soup, which came in a large bowl for the economical price of $3.75. A thick purée of roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, black pepper, and shavings of parmigiano-reggiano, it conveyed the ideal balance between the sweet taste of the roasted tomatoes and the spicy heat of the pepper flakes. 

After a short walk down Purchase Street, I was seated at Le Pain Quotidien to try its soup-of-the-day: mushroom.  Fifteen minutes later, I was still waiting.  When it finally did arrive, the soup was watery and, at $5.25, overpriced.  The earthy flavor of the mushrooms could hardly be tasted over the soup's saltiness. One might wonder if the chef had attempted to salvage the briny broth with a large heap of chopped parsley that floated on its surface.  A redeeming factor was the crusty slice of baguette that accompanied it. Yet, this comes as no surprise–le pain is what this chain café is known for best.

Onwards and upwards, I say!  I made a beeline for Andy's Pure Food, a vegan café that serves a large variety of soups daily, including Cauliflower, Carrot Ginger, Lentil, and Zucchini.  I tasted the lentil soup–puréed yellow lentils with finely chopped carrots, onion, and red peppers.  Flavored with Middle Eastern spices including cumin and coriander, the soup–a half pint is $4.95–had a hot kick to it that would be sure to fire you up midday. 

While I was originally planning on only sampling three soups, I couldn't help but notice the foot-traffic that was bustling in and out of the gourmet deli June & Ho.  Sure enough, after I had investigated the premises, I discovered the deli's lunch trade included a bean and escarole soup. Tender white cannellini beans, leafy green escarole, and chopped carrots; this soup is the definition of hearty.  At $3.79, which includes a hunk of baguette, June & Ho's bean and escarole soup is sure to warm even a Grinch's heart on a sub-freezing day.

The Verdict: Overall, Patisserie Salzburg's roasted tomato soup with its potent potage and bargain price trumped the competition.

What do you think? Vote in our poll:

Who has the best soup in Rye?



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