The crud has been sweeping our offices for weeks. And where there’s crud, there’s a strong need for chicken soup. We recently discovered the chicken noodle soup at the newly opened Rarebit, a sort of modern yet old-school diner that serves up a hearty bowl of salty, chickeny broth with classic egg noodles, roasted shredded chicken, garlic stock, and some roasted vegetables (just like mom makes it!). When you’re battling a stuffy nose and congested chest, there’s not much better than this.
At Charleston Bakery, which claims to be our only authentic Jewish deli (Aaron’s Deli notwithstanding), they serve real Jewish penicillin: Matzo Ball Soup. The soup contains chicken stock, celery, onions, carrots, and fresh basil all cooked with pulled roasted chicken and baseball-sized matzo balls. The matzo balls are a housemade mix of matzo meal, schmaltz, eggs, chopped parsley, and some salt and pepper. The matzo ball mix then sits for a few hours, is shaped into balls, and simmered in water. Co-owner Kerry Botz says, “This soup is authentic. We worked on the recipe for years before getting it right.” The matzo balls combined with the chicken soup makes a warming winter dish that will soothe any sore throat.
Over on Coming Street, Two Boroughs Larder is heating up a celery root soup that will have your taste buds heightened with its salty yet sweet combination of flavors. The made-from-scratch soup contains whole celery and Arkansas black apples that are first roasted with onions, and then are peeled to create their smooth texture. The celery, onions, and apples are then added to a pan and cooked down with vegetable sauce, buttermilk, and some spices and herbs. Finally everything is pureed with half a cup of olive oil to form a smooth and beautifully white soup. Owner and Executive Chef Josh Keller adds, “The apples add something different to the soup. It makes the dish well rounded with a nice combination of sweet and salty.” As if it couldn’t sound better the soup is topped with shaved country ham and fried croutons.
If you’re looking for traditional tomato soup head to Closed for Business on King Street. Their version of tomato soup features local fresh tomatoes, imported high quality Italian tomatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes all sautéed together. The tomatoes are then simmered with spices and herbs. At the end some cream is added and it’s puréed for a thick and creamy delight. You can just get the bowl of soup or you can splurge the tomato soup and grilled cheese combination. The irresistible grilled cheese contains swiss, fontina, and cheddar cheeses all melted on thick Texas toast.
For a soup that will really open up your sinuses head out to Red Orchids in West Ashley and order up the Hot and Sour Soup. The soy broth-based dish contains tofu, bean curd, bamboo shoots, and wood ear mushrooms. Owners Kelly and Tony Chu make the soup in big batches fresh everyday. Although most Asian restaurants make “hot” soups fairly mild, don’t take the name “Hot and Sour” lightly. Kelly says, “The soup is true to its name, it is spicy, some people say its is too spicy.” Not only will it help clear your sinuses but it will warm you right up.
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