Who says you have to give up soup come summertime? Perhaps one of the most versatile, cross-cultural dishes, soup is a year round staple. Countries like Thailand and Vietnam actually eat hot, spicy soups to counteract the sweltering heat. We see summer as an opportunity to seize the tasty spectrum of cold soups from around the world. Gazpacho one of the world’s most popular soups every which way including blanco with almond puree, heirloom tomatoes and more.
From the cutting edge strawberry gazpacho at Eleven Madison Park to the hearty, chilled beef and noodle Kuksu at Elza Fancy Food in Brooklyn, cold soup is a great way to refresh and nourish during the balmier summer months. Here’s our favorites this season…
Aldea – Tomato Gazpacho
Address: 31 West 17th Street
Phone: (212) 675-7223
We couldn’t do a list of New York’s best cold soups without including a standout tomato gazpacho, and the gazpacho at Flatiron hot spot, Aldea, fits the bill. Our hats are off to chef George Mendes, who enlivens his gazpacho with pickled cucumber and ricotta. Both accouterments bring out different elements of the versatile tomato: while the cucumber picks up its zesty, acidic notes, the creamy ricotta teases out a sweeter taste. It’s too bad he doesn’t sell it to-go or we’d stock our refrigerators with it for a daily fix.
Elza Fancy Food – Kuksu
Address: 3071 Brighton 4th Street (between Oceanview Ave & Brighton Beach Ave), Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
Phone: (718) 942-4088
Feel like trying something new this summer? Kuksu is a great , chilled soup to add to your To-Do list. The heartiest soup on our list, Kuksu is a traditional noodle soup found at most Korean joints in New York. One of our favorite renditions of Kuksu can be found at Elza Fancy Food, a Korean-Uzbek restaurant in Brooklyn. Yes, you read Korean-Uzbek, which happens to be a fortunate cultural fusion, stemming from a less fortunate era in history (Stalin forced a substantial Korean population to relocate from Russia to Uzbekistan in the 1930s). Layered with beef, pickled cucumbers and cabbage, the Kuksu at Elza is a deliciously satisying bowl that will sustain you until your next meal. If that’s not enough, look at the price point: just eight bucks will buy you two small bowls.
Naidre’s Café – Avocado Tomatillo Soup
Address: 384 7th Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Phone: (718) 965-7585
This neighborhood cafe look more like a coffee shop, but it’s got one heck some excellent food. Especially the avocado tomatillo soup. This creamy cold soup offers a welcome respite from the heat, while cilantro and jalapeno keep things interesting. And it pairs perfectly with the Alamo, a whole wheat wrap stuffed with chicken, black beans, roasted corn salsa, and chipotle dressing. Naidre’s also makes a mean watermelon gazpacho with plenty of onions, tomatoes, and lime. Oh, and did we mention their roasted meats or that they make all of their baked goods in house? Enough said.
GustOrganics – Cold Cucumber Gazpacho Soup
Address: 519 Avenue of the Americas @ 14th Street
Phone: (212) 242-5800
The first USDA-certified organic restaurant in New York, this health foodie haven in is a great spot to clean up your diet this summer without feeling flavor deprived. Grab a seat on their outdoor patio, order a glass of organic wine and their cold cucumber gazpacho. This light, creamy green soup, thickened with yogurt and flavored with garlic and mint, is the perfect beginning to a summer meal. They’re open for lunch, too, so you can always pop in for a quick lunch break.
Eleven Madison Park – Strawberry Gazpacho
Address: 11 Madison Avenue
Phone: (212) 889-0905
If you’ve yet to splurge on dinner at Eleven Madison Park, summer is a fantastic season to experience the kitchen’s talents. There’s no menu to speak of, just a laundry list of ingredients to choose from and away the kitchen goes. One of the best summer creations is Daniel Humm’s strawberry gazpacho, which has been earning raves since he created it just a few years ago. Sweet, tangy, and notably pink, but it’s only on the menu when strawberries are in season, which is right about now. (You can even order it by special request when you arrive!)
Soigne – Chilled Potato Soup with Leeks and Bacon
Address: 486 6th Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Phone: (718) 369-4814
What’s meant to whet your appetite actually steals the show at Soigne, a new American restaurant in Park Slope. This warm and unpretentious spot makes everyone feel at home with an amuse bouche of chilled potato soup laced with leeks and bacon. And while the familiar potato-and-leek combination adds to the comfort-food vibe, serving it chilled, like a traditional vichyssoise, keeps the soup in the realm of refreshing. Then move on to an entrée, like the duck with plum sauce, or keep it simple with one of Soigne’s signature cheese plates and wine flights(there are great options for both).
Uncle Vanya – Cold Borscht
Address: 315 W. 54th Street
Phone: (212) 262-0542
This modest Hell’s Kitchen spot serves up simple Russian fare that manages to get many an ex-pat’s approval. And while Russian cuisine isn’t exactly rare these days in New York, it’s still hard to find a solid, unassuming Russian restaurant sans the “caviar and blini” bells and whistles. When you’re looking for traditional fare, Uncle Vanya can be counted among such rarities. Zesty and delicious, the cold borscht is served in generous portions, which works out nicely since you’ll be craving seconds. (We did.)
Riingo – Chilled Watermelon and Cucumber Soup
Address: The Alex Hotel, 205 E 45th Street
Phone: (212) 867-5100
Watermelon and cucumber? Those sound more like ingredients for a cocktail than soup, which is what makes this unexpected soup combination so exciting. Chef Jose Diaz adds chile, garlic and pepper to the mix and the result is an irresistibly light, vibrant soup that’s worth going out of your way for.