January is National Soup Month, and whether Chicago is bitter cold or mildly chilly, soup hits the spot. It’s filling, hearty, healthy and satisfying. Here are some of the dining spots around town that have careens working overtime to provide you with a luscious bowl of warmth.
Originally from New Orleans, Chef Alfredo Nogueira of Analogue (2523 N. Milwaukee Ave.) recently added the traditional NOLA hangover cure Yaka-Mein ($9) to Analogue’s brunch menu. Nogueira describes it as a kind of “kitchen-sink/ratchet ramen” made of spaghetti noodles, beef broth, green onions, and a hard-boiled egg.
Cindy’s Executive Chef, Christian Ragano, serves a Portuguese Fish Stew ($65 for a three to four person family-style serving), featuring smoked paprika, cumin, fennel, crostini, garlic aioli. Currently Chef’s favorite dish on the menu, the Portuguese Fish Stew is the ultimate comfort food this winter. Cindy’s is at 12 S. Michigan Ave. at the top of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel.
Cafe Spiaggia’s Chef Tony Mantuano creates a Tuscan Duck Soup ($10) with duck confit, chickpeas, and Italian kale – the perfect cure to any cold Chicago day. Packed with protein and flavor, this soup can be a starter or the main event of your winter meal. Find it at 980 N. Michigan Ave.
County Barbeque in Little Italy offers Chef Erick Williams’ specialty Smokehouse Chili ($5) featuring cheddar cheese, sour cream, and jalapenos.
Fish Bar has gone south for the winter and transformed into a New Orleans Fish Shack at 2956 N. Sheffield Ave.. In typical New Orleans fashion, the Shrimp & Sausage Gumbo ($6) pays homage to Chef Michael Kornick’s tenure in the Big Easy
Lincoln Park’s Perennial Virant Chef Paul Virant features a delicate Pumpkin Soup with foie gras mousse, nocino, puffed wild rice, and sorrel. It’s light with a punch of flavor from the mousse and crunchy texture with the wild rice.
Roti Modern Mediterranean in Northbrook has introduced a hot and satisfying Red Lentil soup to the menu. Made with tomatoes, coriander, curry, cayenne powder, lime, garlic, cilantro and more, this soup packs a flavorful punch. This soup is currently only available at the new Northbrook location, however the restaurant chain plans to roll out the dish everywhere early in 2016, along with many other menu enhancements.
Sepia and James Beard nominated Chef Andrew Zimmerman create a Sunchoke Soup ($9 lunch/$12 dinner) with charred sweet onions and apples sott’olio.
Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi in the gigantic Hyatt on Upper Wacker Drive features a Bacon Dashi Soup ($15) with soba noodles, seafood, beef, and Shitake mushrooms. The soup is made in front of the customer on a coffee siphon. The dashi broth is placed into the lower glass jar & aromatics (grilled bacon, ginger, spring onions) are placed in the upper jar. Heat is then placed under the lower glass jar. The heat creates pressure to boiling point in the lower glass bulb at which point the dashi broth evaporates into the upper glass jar and gets infused with all the aromatics. The heat is then removed causing the infused dashi to go back to the lower jar. The infused broth is then ready to be served.
Award winning Vie Restaurant in Western Springs features a heartwarming Chicken and Preserved Tomato Soup ($14) with chicken meatballs, black beans, hominy, puffed rice, candied citrus, kimchi, and cilantro. The robust flavor and different textures should satisfy a cold soup loving soul.