By Linda Cameron
Canned, packaged or homemade, soup has always been a staple. The taste for soup has not flat lined. But like the tide, soup preferences change. These local soup spots use home ingredients in soup dishes you may have overlooked or never heard of. Far from drab and sometimes out of the ordinary, they’re great entrees and appetizers. Soup’s on if you’re ready.
3900 Vinewood Lane
Plymouth, MN 55441
(763) 553-9375 000
Every month, this country style deli publishes a calendar of daily home-style soups grandma would make: wild rice w/ ham, black bean w/ sausage, Mexican chicken noodle, calico bean, beer cheese, cream of cauliflower, cream of asparagus, corn chowder, tomato basil, cream of broccoli, cream of chicken and beef vegetable. Friday is clam chowder day, along with other soup specials. Beef and chicken variations, chicken dumpling and split pea w/ ham are staples. Dufner’s is full of chef-inspired signature soups and sandwiches. For an easy grab-and-go, the deli pairs soup-and-sandwich specials. On Saturdays, Dufner’s has a soup quart special for $6.99. Not exactly a cauldron, the quart is certainly a chef’s choice.
Bay Leaf Indian Cuisine
6403 City West Parkway, Suite A-1
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
The soups at this gem of a restaurant may sound familiar. They are also South Asian culinary staples: hot and sour soup, mulligatawny and tomato. Simmered in broths that are simple and mostly vegetarian, each soup delivers its own nuanced flavors. Traditional Indian herbs and spices transform the classic tomato soup. The hot and sour soup has mushrooms, crushed pepper and traditional Indian seasonings. The mulligatawny, a boiled lentil soup, is seasoned with coconut and crushed curry leaves. If you’re willing to go beyond Eden Prairie, Bay Leaf has another restaurant in Eagan.
United Noodles Marketplace And Unideli
2015 E. 24th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Featured on the Food Network, this smartly funky pan-Asian grocery store houses the hideaway Unideli. With a ramen food cult following, Unideli has become a food culture center. Ramen lovers say the delectable noodle soups are to die for. What they really mean is, they live to chow down Unideli ramen. The Beginner’s Ramen is a simple dish of miso broth and classic ramen noodles. The Dramen, Tantanmen, and Tonkotsu are meatier and spicier, dressed with chili, peppercorns, poached or soy egg, sesame and fresh Asian and locally harvested vegetables. All swim in a pork bone or hybrid meat broth with/without pork belly, although there are vegan options. Chicken soup may warm the soul when winter comes. But for one diner, “Ramen warms the tum-tum in cold weather.”
Related: Best Winter Soups In Minnesota
7465 France Ave. S.
Edina, MN 55435
The garden variety soups at Q. Cumbers are made for vegan tastes: Irish farm soup, veggie bean soups, gazpacho, spinach and lentil, Southwestern corn, creamed vegetable and vegetable chowder. These soups are made from wherever garden vegetables grow locally. For the not so vegan, the urban buffet-style farm-to-table restaurant has other soups. In the seafood selection, the clam and wild rice stand out. Meat lovers can sink their teeth into an amazing Mexican meatball stew or an assortment of meat chilies.
Jensen’s Food And Cocktails
3840 Rahn Road
Eagan, MN 55122
Serving classic American cuisine with French culinary twists, Jensen’s is an A-list restaurant in Minnesota. Although the soup selection here is small, the soup flavors are dynamic. Lobster bisque, mostly found in French restaurants in Twin Cities, features prominently at Jensen’s. Made with lobster bits, cream, brandy and sherry, the rich tasting bisque simmers in seafood stock. The restaurant also does a good turn with French onion soup. Topped with fresh gouda and Swiss cheeses, this classic is classy in a consommé base.
Related: Best French Restaurants In Minnesota