OK, let’s just start this review off by saying this, if your name is The Soup King, you had better be great. I mean let’s face it, there is a different expectation level if you go to a place called The Soup Guy or The Soup Man, but when you say KING, well, we all know what that means.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love soup. I usually have soup either as a part of my lunch or dinner every day. I haven’t had soup for breakfast yet, but I’m certainly not opposed to it. My friend Chef David is also a big time soup lover so we decided to give it a try together.
The restaurant itself has a nice clean, uncluttered look to it. I like that. It has some hightop inside tables and standard four person tables outside. All of their soups are displayed on a chalkboard and have little nameplates beside their soup pot. There’s lots of room to walk around an check things out. The folks working behind the counter are friendly, courteous and ready to answer any questions you may have about the soups.
They had eleven soups that they were serving this particular afternoon. We decided to give four a try. After studying the menu and the soup pots, we settled on, Seafood Gumbo, New England Clam Chowder, Potato and Ham and lastly our wild card soup, Spicy Asian Shrimp. So that was the lineup for our afternoon tasting.
With four soups to sample we thought it would be best to taste from mildest to spiciest. No need to fry our taste buds right out of the box. Here are the results:
NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER
This was really nice. It had a nice smooth texture and was loaded with clams. Not too many potatoes (which I thought was good). It wasn’t really heavy tasting like a lot of New England Clam Chowders can be, but still had a nice silkiness about it that made it feel creamy. All in all a good soup. I would order it again.
POTATO AND HAM
When you looked at it, you thought it was going to be a pretty rich potato and ham soup. It was surprisingly a little on the bland side. The ham was diced very fine, which caused it get a little lost in the broth and the potatoes. It would have been better if they had pureed some of the potato in with the broth to give it a little extra body. It wasn’t bad, but it had the potential to be great. Maybe they might have considered using two different types of potatoes. The chunks that were in the broth didn’t impart much flavor to the soup. Even with all that being said, I’m sure there are a lot of people who would have enjoyed this version.
A winner for sure. Lots of stuff going on here. Good stuff! It had tomatoes in it which aren’t my favorite in gumbo, but they worked great in this soup. No okra (yes!), which for me is a huge plus. The spice index was about right. Even someone who has a low heat tolerance would be OK with this soup. They could have used andouille sausage instead in what appeared to be Italian sausage. That would have given it a more authentic New Orleans taste. I liked this one a lot. Gold star here.
SPICY ASIAN SHRIMP
This one didn’t work at all, at least for David and I. The broth was very thin, not spicy and it really didn’t have a whole lot of flavor. There were small chow mein noodles noodles on top which really didn’t do much for the dish. There were a few shrimp, but they didn’t have much flavor either. There was some ginger in the broth, but it needed way more punch. Maybe some Thai pepper or as David suggested some lemongrass and cilantro would have helped out. We really didn’t know what to expect when we ordered this one like we did with the others. There are probably a lot of ways to go when making this type of soup. I think this one may need to go back to the soup lab for some tweeking.
They have some amazing bread at the Soup King. It’s from downtown Sarasota’s Il Panificio. It went great with all of the soups. The prices were reasonable, a cup of soup was $3.99, $5.99 for a bowl. You can get a soup and sandwich combo for $6.25 or soup and salad for $6.79. That won’t break the bank. We wanted to try some of the sandwiches, but we’ll have to make another trip for that.
All in all it’s a good spot. They have some soups there that are definitely worth the trip. It’s a nice place to meet a friend for a casual lunch. They have delivery and free wi-fi. They also offer catering services. If your looking for soup (and who isn’t), The Soup King should be on your to do list.
The Soup King
1901 S. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34239
Next to FedEx Kinko’s