You’ve gotta love the versatility of soup. It can be as simple as broth, as rich as bisque, as customizable as ramen.
A big steaming bowl can warm spirits on a cold winter day, while chilled soups are a light meal tailor-made for summer heat waves.
Here are five to try right now.
1. Ohio Corn Bisque, $5 at MoJoe Lounge (left)
Created by well-regarded local chef David MacLennan, the new menu at MoJoe Lounge across from the Columbus Commons is filled with locally sourced delights, like a Croque Madame made with Bluescreek ham and local cheese. Start any meal with a cup of this indulgent soup. Its thick, creamy base tastes of Ohio sweet corn, with some crunch provided by bits of edamame and crispy hominy.
MoJoe Lounge/Cup O’ Joe
149 S. High St., Downtown
2. Jham Bong, $10 at Diaspora
The bright and cheery Korean spot’s spicy noodle soup is a huge bargain. No mere fish stew, it’s packed with all manner of stir-fried seafood delicacies. We spotted all of these guys bobbing up to the surface: giant shrimp, meaty crab claws, tender scallops, squid, fish, and even octopus tentacles. That’s all served up in a massive bowl with noodles and veggies in a wonderfully spicy, fragrant tomato broth.
2118 N. High St., Campus
3. Cucumber Gazpacho, $5 at Darista Cafe
It can be tough to make a credible gazpacho without tomatoes. But Dara Schwartz, the chef behind the globally inspired, locally sourced Darista Cafe, has created a lovely chilled soup made with pureed cucumbers and yellow bell peppers. Better than the sum of its parts, this bowl is sprinkled with creamy goat cheese and has just a hint of chili heat. Darista Cafe sets up on the veranda at the Hills Market on Friday afternoons.
7860 Olentangy River Rd., Worthington
4. Spicy Pork Noodles in Soup, $8 at Ying’s Tea house
In case of emergency, head straight to Ying’s, a homey little mom-and-pop Chinese place serving a bowl of soup that will cure whatever’s ailing you. It’s a combination of super-spicy broth (fantastic for clearing sinuses), pillowy homemade noodles, bits of tender roasted pork, crunchy bean sprouts, lots of cilantro and probably a little magic. Yes, it’s that much better than homemade chicken noodle soup.
Ying’s Tea House
4312 N. High St., Clintonville
5. Rustic Tomato and Bread Soup, $6 at Northstar Cafe
More often than not, the soup of the day at the fresh-veggie-leaning cafe is this one, a riff on a traditional Italian bread soup. It’s got chunky tomatoes and salty olive tapenade tossed with big croutons of rosemary focaccia that soak up all that garlicky tomato broth—the end result is almost too thick to qualify as soup. It’s definitely filling enough to serve as a meal on its own.
4241 N. High St., Beechwold
4015 Townsfair Way, Easton
951 N. High St., Short North