Not surprisingly, spring soups rely on spring ingredients, including asparagus and ramps. Menus can change as quickly as the weather, so get these bowls of goodness while you can. By Jessica Allen.
More: NYC’s 6 Healthy Wraps
Spring in New York means many things: rain, ginormous golfing umbrellas, budding flowers, and ramps. For many, the first sight of these leafy wild leeks herald the end of winter and start of warmer weather, which perhaps explains the craziness that ensues at farmers markets and kitchens, when seemingly everyone puts ramps on their menus or plates. At Recette, the ramp soup includes pickled ramps, chorizo, fried clams, and olive oil, and comes chilled. It’s also bright green.
Named the “Best New Restaurant of 2012” by Esquire, Gwynnett Street serves modern American food in a warm, wood-lined dining room, from chefs who did time at modernist, inventive wd-50. Its rotating soups utilize only the freshest ingredients, combined in unique ways, from stinging nettle soup with kombu, parsley, and clams to asparagus soup, rendered extra-powerful via tarragon and an egg yolk. Make sure to order a side of moist whiskey bread, whose fumes are enough to get you tipsy.
La Vie en Szechuan specializes in the fiery cuisine of Sichuan, China. Cool your palate with the crab and asparagus soup. Thickened with flour and egg, filled with slivers of asparagus and bits of crab meat, it’s dainty yet hearty, mild yet flavorful, a seemingly bottomless bowl of seafood and veggies. Round out your lunch or dinner with a side of crystal shrimp dumplings or an order of what we believe to be the best chongqing chicken in town.
Heavier than other soups on this list, the vegetable dumpling soup at M Noodle Shop is great for a transition day, when the skies are a bit gray, the air pregnant with moisture. It might rain, or the sun might come out. The soup here starts with a light broth, in which seaweed and scallions swirl, and dumplings bob. They’re dense, packed primarily with tofu and mushrooms. Overall the soup blends the airiness of summer with the heartiness of winter, kind of like spring itself.
Like everything on Dirt Candy’s menu, the fennel and sunflower seed soup displays extraordinary creativity. Chef Amanda Cohen began by ruminating on fennel, which led her to sausage, a thought she let pass on by, as this East Village restaurant is vegetarian. Ultimately she arrived at a creamy vegan soup, which includes caramelized fennel, mustard green pesto, pickled mustard seeds, and fennel pretzels, and offers a complex, rich, acidic taste.