The dictionary defines soup as a “liquid meal, typically made by boiling meat, fish, or vegetables, etc., in stock or water.” That description is so, well, watered down! As several of our readers recently discovered, soup can be pretty “souper” – especially when enjoyed at Daniel Island restaurants. We sent out some taste testers to sample some of the simmering, savory liquid menu items that don’t always get the fanfare they deserve! From a revved up jalapeno cheddar concoction, to a soul-warming tomato basil, to a chicken noodle medley sure to chase away the winter blues - read on as we serve up our readers’ top soup selections.
The “House Soup” at Wasabi is my go-to soup! Don’t let the simple presentation deceive you, because this clear broth favorite has a great punch of flavor that will keep you coming back for more.
The delicate blend of aromas and flavor come from the combination of the broth, a few green onions sprinkled in, some thin sliced floating mushrooms, and of course the tasty fried onions. Pair it with your favorite sushi roll or kick off your lunch or dinner entree with a warm bowl of this soup, and you will not be disappointed!
I’m somewhat obsessed with soup. I make batches all winter long, trying new recipes and repeating old favorites. But there are two types I routinely avoid: cold soups and cream-based soups. The latter I resist because I find them a bit bland and one-dimensional. There’s something about heavy cream that dulls my palate, obscuring more interesting layers of flavor. It’s a personal thing.
I recently visited Laura Albert’s Tasteful Options on an unseasonably chilly afternoon, eager to warm up with a bowl of soup. A glance at the menu dampened my enthusiasm. Soup of the day: broccoli cheddar. I admit my prior experience with it is limited. So, I pictured a bland beige bowl of cream-based soup. I’ll just try a cup, I thought, and ordered the soup and salad combo.
That first spoonful was a game changer. The soup was light and creamy but not excessively rich, a result of having just enough chicken stock to balance the heavy cream. Tiny bits of broccoli and a topping of shredded cheese added texture. But what grabbed me was the brightness of flavor. There was an acidity underlying the creaminess that added that unexpected layer of flavor. I had a hunch what it was and had to ask.
“Yes, it’s white wine,” said Mike Herron, the restaurant’s General Manager. “We add it to many dishes here. It adds complexity.”
That’s precisely what made this soup so delicious. It had complexity. Not something I generally associate with creamy soups, until now.
Next time I’ll order the larger bowl.
They were gracious enough to share their recipe which served 24. I’ve scaled it down to 6 servings but have not tested it in my kitchen.
8 oz. broccoli florets
1/4 large yellow onion, small diced
1 stalk celery, small diced
1 T. olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 quart chicken stock
1 pint heavy cream
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup water
Sauté broccoli, onion and celery until soft, about 5 mins. Add wine and stock. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 30 mins. Purée using a blender or immersion blender. Thicken with 1/4 cup cornstarch mixed in ¼ cup water. Add heavy cream and cheese. Continue to cook on low heat for 15 mins. Season to taste. Serves 6.
Daniel Island Grille
It was a chilly late January evening, so it made sense to go indoors at the DI Grille rather than our usual spot on the enclosed patio. We have enjoyed their two menu soups (tomato basil and chili) in the past so this time I opted for the soup du jour… Jalapeno Cheddar Bacon.
I’m not a big fan of spicy so I was mildly cautious about jalapeno leading the description. It turned out not to be a concern! It was a thick, creamy soup dominated by the cheddar with enough bacon to be interesting. Any jalapeno influence was mild at best.
A good, hearty choice for a cold evening.
Rarely does one consider a $50 bowl of soup a bargain, except when that soup is from Sermet’s Courtyard. Let me explain:
My wife, Sue, and I intended to top off a chilly February day filled with cheating on crossword puzzles and entertaining our cat with a laser pointer by grabbing a quick bowl of soup.
While we have dined at Sermet’s countless times since we first dated, never have we ordered the soup. And, by “the soup,” I mean, “the soup.” Other restaurants confuse both the staff and the patrons with endless soup options. Not Sermet’s. When you tell your server that you’ll have a bowl of soup, they don’t ask, “which one?” They don’t ask because there is one soup on the menu... because that’s all there needs to be.
That soup is a Roasted Tomato and Mushroom with Basil Oil and Parmesan. It has chunks of tomato and thick slices of mushrooms, and is served with a drizzle of Basil Oil and heaps of grated parmesan cheese. It’s what mom should have served with her grilled cheese sandwiches when you were a kid, but she didn’t, and because of that, she will never be forgiven.
Now, this soup is rightfully placed at the top left of the menu. Were we able to keep our focus solely on the soup selection, we could indeed have accomplished our stated mission. But, our eyes wandered. And so, after the soup came the Parmesan Crusted Salmon. Sue, a la Carrie Bradshaw, followed that with a Cosmopolitan.
When asked if we wanted something sweet to end our meal, I turned to Sue and said, “I have all the sweetness I need right here.” I said this because I play to win the game.
Ever shy on the actual ordering of dessert, Sue said, “I’ll just have a bite of whatever you get...”
Which, as we know, is code for “If you want dessert, we better order two.”
And that, my friends, is why a $50 “bowl of soup” at Sermet’s is, indeed, a tasty, tasty bargain.
Typically, when my husband and I eat at Dragon Palace, he orders the Egg Drop soup and I order the Wonton soup.
This past Saturday we went for a long walk with our dog, Iggy, to the dog park on Daniel Island. It was a chilly morning. We decided to stop and get some soup for take-out, so we could warm ourselves up when we got home. I ordered the Chicken Noodle and Tom ordered the Seafood Soup.
The Chicken Noodle Soup was advertised as spicy, and indeed, it had the biggest kick I’ve ever tasted in a chicken noodle soup. The noodles were thick but light and it was loaded with large mushroom chunks. Overall, this was one of the best chicken noodle soups I’ve had in a very long time.
The seafood soup was just as hearty – it was served with plentiful portions of mussels, crab, shrimp, and other bounty of the sea, as well as mushrooms, celery, carrot, onion and egg whites. It had a wonderful taste and was not spicy.
Both soups were topped off nicely with fried Wonton strips. Dragon Palace also offers a Hot and Sour Soup.
There is no better time to have a bowl of soup than on a cold, windy day. So last week when I found myself entering LIDI Restaurante at lunch time, soup was on my mind.
LIDI does not have a regular soup item on their menu, but they do offer a soup of the day. On the day I was there, the special was Italian Wedding Soup.
I never had Italian Wedding Soup before, but decided to give it a try.
While I waited for its preparation (which I admittedly thought would be ladled out of a pot or large stainless steel vat), I peeked over the knee wall separating the kitchen from the dining room. To my surprise I saw the chef making my order from scratch in a skillet.
She tossed the ingredients into the skillet, which I observed to be chicken stock, ground beef (hand patted into four small meatballs), a bunch of shredded escarole, finely chopped carrots, and five sweet potato gnocchi, and assorted spices.
A few minutes later out came this steaming fragrant bowl of soup that was a meal by itself. Upon my first taste, it made me feel warm and comfy all over. I felt like I hit the lunch lottery right here on Daniel Island.
Guilty. I seem to be reaching the 5 p.m. “What’s for dinner?” conundrum more often than not. As a last minute quick fix, I ended up at the Publix soup counter for what was left of the day’s picks. Looks like there were four soups to choose from during lunch and as the day neared dinner, I was left with one choice…Chicken Noodle Soup. So for $4.49 I filled a 16 oz. bowl and was on my way.
Publix Chicken Noodle Soup is definitely a hearty meal. My soup was packed evenly with noodles, chicken, carrots and celery. The broth is a bit on the thicker side versus my homemade soup, but I wasn’t disappointed. I just hope that next time, in my last minute rush, the other pots will be full so I can venture out to a new choice.
(Editor’s Note: It’s not necessarily a soup, but we felt David’s decision to sample some chili at Dockery’s fit the bill. It’s a delicious and fulfilling meal – and the perfect way to warm up a cold and blustery day!)
I had the Brisket Chili at Dockery’s today. Wow was it good. I have had many different chilis but I have never had one made with brisket before. It was wonderful and I was left wanting more. It was very flavorful and filling but I did not fill bloated after eating it. The chili was not too spicy and would go well with a sandwich or fries from the Dockery’s menu. I will definitely be back for more. I would put this up against my own chili recipe which I might be modifying to add brisket.
I am looking forward to trying their tomato soup next.
More reviewers needed!
Is there a soup you love at a Daniel Island eatery not featured here? We’re still looking for soup reviewers for the following restaurants: Ali Baba, Blondies, Vespa, Honeycomb Cafe, Orlando’s, and Agave! If interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will feature your review in an upcoming issue!