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Big City Soup offers real stuff to warm up cold lunchtimes
Hit the Gateway district to try popular homemade soups

SHARE Big City Soup offers real stuff to warm up cold lunchtimes
Hit the Gateway district to try popular homemade soups

Brrrrrrrr. It's cold out there.

You've probably been thinking the same lately. The weather changed so quickly. Was there time to ease into it gently? I don't think so.We're coming into "soup days." No two ways about it. When a soup day hits, you know it because you feel the need for something to warm you to the core.

For days like this, break out of your downtown lunch routine and try Big City Soup over in the Gateway district. Open since early this year, the place has really picked up in the last little while because of this rude change in the weather.

Not that Big City minds. It's been selling out of the most popular soups. You'd sell out too if you made enough homemade soup every day to feed a small army.

Yes, I said homemade. This is not the typical ladle of thawed food service glop, the kind you'd expect at other popular lunch spots downtown. You know the kind I mean. It's thick and pasty.

Praises to Big City Soup for bringing innovation and quality to the lunch routine. While you're standing in line trying to make up your mind, step up and ask for a sample. Taste them all if you want. You could nearly have a meal just sampling. I tried clam chowder. Too thick for my tastes, more potato than clam flavor. Then again, that pot was sold out, only enough in there for a sample. Sold out can't be all bad.

I tried the sausage and white bean. It's real hefty soup with well-married flavors of Italian sausage and bell peppers.

On to Thai coconut chicken noodle, this one has a lighter broth than the first two. Unusual blend. You get the mellow coconut coming through, carrots, mushrooms, noodles, followed by . . . ouch . . . a little kick in the pants. Yummy.

The tomato basil crab bisque was my favorite on that soup day. Not a delicate soup, hearty in every way but not heavy. It has a chunky marinara-like texture, well-suited for the pure taste of basil and a base note of crab. The bisque is garnished with cracked pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.

Second favorite was the mushroom and wild rice. This soup has the broth down pat. It doesn't have a heavy cream base, but a stock base finished off with cream. Very smooth. Filled with enough "chunky stuff" -- mushrooms and wild rice--to make a real meal.

Others in the lineup included corn chowder and a smoky southwestern minestrone.

You may love them all; you may gravitate to an old standby. But there is something there for anyone who is bored with lunch in Salt Lake City.

I marvel at such a great concept -- there's nothing like it in town. And I marvel at the feat of making a half-dozen or more soups every day from scratch.

I only wish Big City had a little something sweet for dessert: carrot cake or bread pudding or cobbler.

However, it does feature the breads of Volker's bakery. The fresh focaccia that came with my soup was pure heaven.

Chances are there are more than a few soup days on the horizon. My advice: get real soup at Big City.

Big City Soup

*** (out of five)

380 W. Pierpont Avenue, 333-7687

Hours: 11 a.m. -3 p.m., Monday -Friday

Payment: major credit cards, local checks

Stephanie Tanner-Brown may be reached by e-mail at stephanie@desnews.com