When it’s too hot to eat, slurp. A nice soup serves as the perfect antidote to long, sweaty days. And we’re not talking about pureed ice cream, although that does make for a pleasant soupy treat. Here are five of our favorite, most refreshing summer soups, four chilled and one not. By Jessica Allen.
More: NYC’s 7 Best Cold Eats For Hot Days
Chilled Sweet Corn and Crab Soup
After a stint on Top Chef, Mark Simmons landed in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where he opened Kiwiana. This restaurants specializes in foods from his southern hemisphere homeland, such as ribs braised with manuka and marmite, New Zealand cheese, and yucca tots. His chilled sweet corn soup offers corn in several ways, a true celebration of this veggie: first, as a silky base, then as whole and popped kernels. All that gets mixed with crab and sprinkled with cilantro and chile oil.
Gazpacho is, of course, the summeriest of summer soups. LIC Market, a bright, light, seasonal American, just-this-side-of-twee restaurant in Queens, makes it the traditional way—by pureeing super-fresh tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, onion, cucumbers, and sherry vinegar. It gets finished with a splash of Sriracha hot sauce. Other places make gazpacho with other things, such as strawberries and watermelon. By all means, try those. But then come here for one of the best.
Cocoron, a tiny noodle shop on the Lower East Side, sells several kinds of cold soba (noodles made from buckwheat), including sesame and buta shaba (with shiso, radish, and sliced pork), all with a bonito broth stock, wasabi, and a side of cold dipping sauce. You can get hot soba as well as freshly made tofu too. This popular restaurant fills up fast, so get there early (as in ‘right when it opens early’) for maximum refreshment.
Chilled Cucumber & Avocado Soup
Best known as a pizza restaurant, Co. also makes great soups. On the menu right now is chilled cucumber and avocado, a creamy rich emulsion topped with lime, quark (a farmers’ cheese), and fermented chili, for kick. Owner Jim Lahey runs Sullivan Street Bakery, so be sure to get something chewy and carby like truccione saré with a side of ricotta or Vermont butter or even a spinach pie with three kinds of cheese (aka the Popeye [pictured]) to accompany the soup.
Served alongside such South Indian specialties as idli (steamed rice and lentil cake [pictured]), vada (fried lentil donut [pictured]), dosas (stuffed fried crepe), and tomato and coconut chutneys, sambar is a spicy, refreshing soup. Saravanaa Bhavan started in India, where they know a thing or two about using hot foods to combat hot temps, and now has locations around the world, including in Oman, in France, and on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. The sambar comes with just about everything on the menu, because it’s just that good.