Why is soup a winter food?
It’s a trick question; the answer is it’s not.
But I ask to point out that 50% of the food you eat is probably hot regardless of season, so why does soup get put in a corner April to October? You don’t see that happening to mac and cheese.
Soup is the best, and Nashville has some top-tier offerings.
Here are the best places to find liquid bliss:
It can’t be done better. How’s that for a gauntlet?
It’s true for Mas Tacos’ tortilla soup, which is a clean, perfect version of the Mexican classic: homemade chicken stock flavored with jalapeno and chipotle, topped with tender chicken, crispy fried tortilla strips and fresh corn, avocado, tomato and onion. Their pozole verde is equally warming, citrusy and satisfying.
If you’re too lazy to put on pants and go there, you can make this at home thanks to the fine people at Bon Appétit.
What’s it called when you show favor to a colleague? It’s not nepotism because no one’s related, and no one’s making money off of it, so it’s not insider trading. Whatever it is, consider it disclosed because we can’t mention comfort soups and not mention the Queensway Cock-a-Leekie at Fleet Street Pub (owned by Parthenon Publishing Editor Nancy Henderson).
A made-from-scratch broth gets a generous helping of chicken, leek, barley, and vegetables to create a hearty, delicious Scottish soup.
And then things get weird: they use dates to sweeten it. Traditionally, prunes are used, so dates are Fleet Street’s signature spin. Like much of Scottish cuisine, it sounds weird but tastes awesome.
I hate to prove myself loose with hyperbole, but again: it can’t be done better than they’re doing it at Otaku when it comes to ramen (at least not in the states).
Miso is one of those things where the definition (fermented soy bean paste) seriously belies the awesomeness of its flavor (earthy, soy-ish umami bomb), and put in Otaku’s rich, spicy pork broth, it can cure whatever ails you.
Bonus ramen tip: If you’re ever looking for a late-night fix, Treehouse makes a killer version that you can only get after 10 p.m. It has a creamy French-Onion-Dip flavor which sounds bizarre but is highly addictive.
Just because something can be soup’ed does not mean it should be, but in the case of a Noshville Reuben, it’s pretty magical.
You’ve got Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and corned beef combined by people who have that New-York-deli know-how it takes to get that right.
You get creaminess from the half-and-half to evoke the Russian dressing (in a good way; not in a “hot salad dressing” way) and it’s topped off with rye bread croutons. It’s tangy, meaty, comforting and tastes just bad enough for you to make it perfect couch food.
Warning: you can only get it on Mondays, so plan ahead or make it at home thanks to Channel 4.
Like the rest of the menu at Skull’s, the lobster bisque is a classic dish done with panache.
It’s all the buttery, lobster-y goodness you want, yet it’s surprisingly light.
Plus it feels delightfully illicit to sip bisque while you watch a burlesque show.
Tomato Basil Soup
This is the classic: your Ralph-Lauren, vanilla-ice-cream, real-Coke-in-a-bottle American tomato soup — but better.
The tomato and basil flavors are just tart enough to stand up to whatever melty sandwich you’re no doubt dipping into it, but it’s a little creamy and lush too.
Plus, The Food Company has been around for 15+ years, and it’s nice to visit a place that’s earned its classic status.
A soup list without pho in a town with Charlotte Pike is, on the face of it, amateur hour, but we’ve already catalogued the glory of Kien Giang here, so we’re going with a curve ball.
The India Noodles at International Market are morning-after-a-big-night-out food at its finest.
You get the coconut curry flavor you want from Thai food with the brothy, noodle element that’s done best in Vietnamese cuisine, all finished with cilantro for an earthy, herby punch.
Add a little Sriracha for heat and your headache will be gone before your bowl is.
Coconut Tomato Soup
Smash the two soups above together and lose the protein and you get an idea of Woodlands’ Coconut Tomato Soup.
The majority of the menu at Woodlands is savory, soupy goodness, but the coconut-tomato combo is a standout.
Zesty, luxurious and a little sweet, the flavors are so deep and satisfying that you’ll forget to miss the meat.
Let’s get real: sometimes French Onion Soup is just an excuse to eat a handful of melted cheese without judgment. And we respect that goal, but the version at Eastland Cafe is about much more than that.
The beefy broth and caramelized onions that lay below the molten surface are earthy, salty and meaty while still giving you the clear flavor good beef broth should have.
The cheese on top is a mix of Gruyere and mozzarella, which give it that delightful stretch you want from broiled cheese.
Pro-tip: They serve the same soup at their sister restaurant, Park Cafe, on the west side.
Tarragon Chicken Soup
If you love pot pie but can’t commit to eating a whole one by yourself for lunch (wuss!), this soup is for you.
A creamy, herby version of a classic chicken soup, it’s studded with carrots, potatoes, corn and green beans, so it’s a full meal in a 2-cup container.
In a surprising twist, the MVP of this soup is the green beans: they give it a Thanksgiving/Green Bean Casserole flavor that we should all be aiming to consume more than once a year.
Matzo Ball Soup
For a more traditional Chicken Noodle Soup experience, the Matzo Ball at Proper Bagel ticks that box and more.
The matzo balls themselves are highly seasoned, so they’ve got a deep, savory flavor, which gives the soup the same satisfying quality as turkey and dressing but with less guilt. (Apparently good soup = Thanksgiving flavors. Code cracked.)
It also has magical grandma-style healing qualities when you’re sick.
Remember back at the top when we said it couldn’t be done better?
Well that stands, but it turns out tortilla soup can be done differently and equally well.
A silky-smooth, tomato-heavy take, Bajo Sexto delivers a surprisingly light soup for how creamy it is, and the spices give it real depth and authenticity. Mexico in a bowl.
Celery Bleu Cheese Soup
In a nod to some flavors made famous by a little food called hot wings, we have the Celery Blue Cheese Soup from the Yellow Porch.
Obviously, the flavor profile on this soup is classier than that of Hooters, but class is not why we came: it’s a cheese soup, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Funky, creamy and rich, this soup is the antithesis of the Cabbage Soup diet (shoutout to the ’80s) and for that, we give thanks.