Was that the longest January ever? With nearly half of mine spent out of the country—a week in Poland for work, an overnight road trip through Germany to Amsterdam due to some heavy fog and canceled flights in Krakow, a few days in London, and too few in Prague—that made for a lot of soup, contributing to a total of 44 in January. Even with all that travel, I limited my recommendations to things locally available, but also wanted to give a shout out to a favorite I had in Poland… for when you’re next in the neighborhood.
Curry Beef Brisket Noodle Soup at So Good Asian
This skyway spot on the north side of the U.S. Bank Building serves up a variety of soups, including this number. It’s automatically approachable due to familiar flavors of beef stew with a thinner broth, but adds an ample amount of chewy noodles into the mix. It was deceptively delightful. – So Good Asian, 230 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis
Seafood Bichi at Sonora Grill
I needed some spice after my European sojourn and stumbled upon this offering from Sonora the day I got back. Loaded with seafood like the name implies—including shrimp, scallops, and crab meat—it reminded me of a twist on a cioppino. The avocado’s fattiness paired really well with the heat from the broth and the citrus’s bright acidity. – Sonora Grill, 3300 E. Lake St., Minneapolis
Karamiso “Magma” Ramen at Ramen Kazama
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out where cravings come from, but the desire for this bowl is easily traced to photos from local chef Doug Flicker’s travels through Japan. Spicy, but not overly so, the Karamiso “Magma” Ramen is packed with flavor, and using ground pork allows for a more even flavor distribution than would sliced meat, which works really well with the miso-based broth. – Ramen Kazama, 3400 Nicollet Ave. S. and 1510 Como Ave. SE, Minneapolis
Bun Bo Hue at Trieu Chau
This is the same style as a soup I had back in November at Kim Anh Pastery and Deli, but now from a University Avenue favorite. Trieu Chau’s preparation is slightly different in that they omit the blood and bones—but it’s still spicy, slightly sour, and entirely satisfying. I’ve yet to have a meal at Trieu Chau that I haven’t enjoyed. – Trieu Chau, 500 University Ave. W., St. Paul
Potato Leek Soup at The Kenwood Restaurant
A man cannot live on spice alone—sometimes he needs brunch, or something like that? As a fan of soup and a fan of brunch, I’m really a fan when they coexist. Not too many brunch menus in town boast a soup, but the few that do really shine, including this Potato Leek with Benton’s Bacon. It’s smooth, but with that slightly grippy starchiness from the pureed potato, and goes great with the Kenwood’s burger and a single pancake. – The Kenwood Restaurant, 2115 W. 21st St., Minneapolis
Żurek at Restaurant Tatiana
I found myself in the Silesian region of Europe in a Polish city almost an hour outside of Krakow for a work function with a lot of co-workers. A few who were familiar with my penchant for pucker suggested I should seek out one of the traditional regional soups characterized as "sour rye." Żurek gets that description from its inclusion of a rye sourdough starter in its broth, while also highlighting other ingredients native to the region, like various mushrooms and sausages. While many places in the area that offer żurek stick to the more rustic presentation of chunks of potato, pieces of bacon, lengths of sausage, and hard-boiled eggs, Tatiana uses a variety of techniques that elevate the dish including pureeing the potatoes and mushrooms, using a soft-boiled egg reminiscent of ramen, and using thinner slices of sausage crisped for contrasting texture. I can't vouch for it yet, but there's a restaurant in Wisconsin Dells called Edytka's that offers this Silesian soup on its menu, should you be passing through south-central Wisconsin.
If you want to see the full roster of soups I’m eating daily, follow along on my Instagram: @jdhovland.