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New York’s Best Summer Soups

gazpacho.jpgWhen we think of summer, soup isn’t exactly the first thing to come to mind, except gazpacho of course.    The cooling combination of tomatoes, olive oil and vinegar has made gazpacho a summer staple.  Light and flavorful, this chilled, Spanish soup can be the perfect beginning to a meal, or lunch in and of itself.  Lately, we’ve noticed (and eaten) some very creative renditions and a few non-gazpacho. From super seasonal toppings at Salinas to Balaboosta’s honeydew and cantaloupe version, we’ve compiled our favorite, cold summer soups from around the city.

Tia Pol
205 Tenth Ave. (at 22nd St.)
What better place to get Spain’s most famous soup than at one of the city’s best Spanish tapas bar?  Served in an elegant glass, this gazpacho follows the classic recipe of cucumber, tomatoes, green peppers, sherry vinegar and day-old bread all blended together.  The final touch is a drizzle of olive oil and migas (fried bread crumbs).  Unfortunately for us, it’s seasonal, so get it during the next few months.

136 Ninth Ave. (between 18th St. and 19th St.)

We’d come here just to sit in the backyard garden, replete with super cozy banquettes and an outdoor fireplace.  We love his take on gazpacho, which combines tomatoes and red bell peppers with a cava vinaigrette.  What really sets it apart is the unique toppings, which include berries and beets, though he plans to make a more traditional gazpacho through tomato season.  For dessert, there’s a great torrija caramelizada, which is Spanish French toast with a perfectly caramelized crust.

408 Broome St., between Lafayette & Cleveland Sts.

Don’t let the grocery store appearance fool you: Despaña is a restaurant with serious ambition.  Head to the counter in the back to order, then grab a seat at one of the communal tables to enjoy some tapas with friends or strangers.  We recommend the gazpacho, of course.  This carrot-colored soup is garlicky, silken and rich.  The taste of fruity olive oil, tomato and balsamic vinegar all meld together to make a luscious emulsion.  It comes with crusty bread for dipping.  On your way out, grab an iced coffee, which happens to be excellent.

214 Mulberry St., at Spring St.

Balaboosta means perfect housewife in Yiddish and who else could make such perfect gazpacho?  After perfecting falafel at Taïm, Einat Admony opened this NoLiTa restaurant with Israeli comfort food in mind.  If only our mothers cooked like this.  We’re addicted to the fried cauliflower topped with tahini and currants, but what we really can’t stop eating is the gazpacho.  In place of tomatoes, honeydew and cantaloupe give this satiny soup heft.  Almond brittle adds crunch, along with fried onions, placing this dish firmly in the savory column.

856 Ninth Ave. (between 55th St. and 56th St)

Mediterranean mezze are the focus at this always buzzing wine bar in Hell’s Kitchen.  Start with their warm pita with their homemade hummus or the piyaz (elephant bean salad) before settling into a bowl of chilled gazpacho.  Brimming with chunks of tomato and pepper, this vibrant, full-flavored soup is not to be missed.  Oh, and you might consider ending the meal with Kashkaval’s dessert fondue, served with a giant plate of fresh fruit for  all melted chocolate dipping endeavors.

Café Orlin
41 St. Mark’s Place (at Second Ave.)

This East Village haunt is known for its juicy burger, eggs Florentine and its brunch menu.   Whenever we get a chance to visit, we head straight to the gazpacho, creamier than most bowls we’ve sampled.  But the finishing touch just might be the best part: Each bowl is crowned with a hollowed out cucumber filled with avocado and pickled radishes.  Follow that up with the strawberry tart and a cup of tea and linger over the free WiFi.

Various Locations

All grocery stores are not created equal, so we couldn’t be happier that this grocery store has been expanding lately with a brand new location on the Upper East Side.  We’re most impressed with cheese, olive and spice selection along with the imported Morbier, grass-fed beef.  But one of our favorite products to stick in our fridge for lunch, dinner or a snack is the Fairway brand gazpacho (one Restaurant Girl lives on it).  With a base of tomato juice studded with chunks of cucumber, green onions and tomato, this chilled soup gets its kick from jalapenos and its herbaceousness from lots of cilantro and mint.

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