Rich and Hearty Selections Don’t End with the Soup at the Cozy CafeAs I approached The Soup Spoon Café on a brisk and beautiful Michigan afternoon, I was greeted by something I wasn’t prepared for. Standing outside, with my foot on the stoop and my hand on the doorknob, I smelled the soup. Rich, warm, welcoming soup. All this before the door was even open. As I made my way inside, sunshine and aroma surrounded me, along with the cozy chatter and the clatter of any busy lunch rush.
AmbienceOne of the first things you will notice about this café, besides the inviting aromas, is its open kitchen. The cooking goes on right in the middle of everything. There is nothing and nowhere to hide. And let me tell you, it looks like a fine-tuned orchestra. It would have to be, because the space in which all the beautiful fare is produced lends itself toward the word intimate. Cooks, servers and hosts all hustle and bustle happily around this brightly lit, “intimate” café.
FoodI, of course, immediately started checking out what everyone else was indulging in. The salads all looked fresh and bright. People were enthusiastically digging into sandwiches piled high on what looked to be artisan bread. Here and there were some “entrée” looking dishes, but everywhere I looked there was soup. Get this. There is a “soup flight”. A sampling of four soups, complete with bread, can be your order for the day. How cool is that? Seafood Chowder and French Onion are the café’s staples with rotating daily specialties. On my particular day they were featuring Pumpkin Bisque, Feta and Mushroom, Spicy Cabbage and something with a bean in it (that may have been too healthy for me to remember). After examing the menu, I decided on a soup and sandwich combo, and then super cheated by ordering an extra cup of soup and a pasta dish to take home for dinner. The Seafood Chowder was rich and creamy. It was chock full of potatoes, shrimp and clams, all nicely diced, sweet and tender. I actually saw the chef make more on the stove as the lunch hour wore on. Talk about fresh. The Pumpkin Bisque was thick and complex, with some kick. This heat was offset by a dollop of whipped cream on top. It basically was like a hot, naughty piece of pumpkin pie in a bowl. Yum! The Cabbage Soup looked fantastic, with some sort of tomato base (if I were to hazard a guess). I have to say I wish I had the room to tuck into that Feta and Mushroom as it sounded like a fantastic flavor combination. My sandwich and pasta also displayed strength of flavors. With my lunch I ordered the Apple Chicken Salad Melt with cheddar and tomato on sourdough. The bread was all toasty and buttery, the salad loaded with sweet, crunchy apples and fresh tarragon. I must have been tarragon happy that day because as I enjoyed my pasta later that same evening, I realized it was in a Cajun tarragon, sherry cream sauce. The “Voodoo” Shrimp pasta had crisp peppers, a spicy and gooey sauce, and a mound of linguini all cradling the big, plump shrimp (and there were lots of them). This having been my first time at The Soup Spoon Café, I will say the menu for sure made me want to return. First and foremost, one must see if their “staple” French Onion is up to snuff. The Seafood Chowder sure held its own. The Café Stroganoff caught my eye as it was prepared with mushrooms and onions in a dill, Dijon, sour cream sauce. However, the biggest draw was the breakfast. The options feature numerous eggs “benny”, one complete with avocado, tomato and an ancho pepper hollandaise and one with house smoked salmon. I am also pretty sure you can’t go wrong with an omlet prepared with crab, green onion, tomatoes and a basil cream sauce. Throw in your pancakes and your French toast and it sounds like there is potential for the breakfast of champions.
ValueThe prices were completely reasonable. The bowls of soup were served with bread and most ran under $5. Sandwiches and salads were about $6-$9 and breakfast looks to be around $7-$9.
BeveragesThe Soup Spoon Café does not offer any type of adult beverages. However, it does have a beautiful coffee bar that offers any barista-happy client what they may desire and a great place to sit if you are by yourself or in a hurry. As we head into the colder months of our Michigan winter, The Soup Spoon Café can certainly succeed in warming us up with their hearty, tasty fare.
Soup Spoon Café1419 E. Michigan Avenue Lansing, MI 48912 517-316-2377 Find the soup of the day on Twitter @SoupSpoonCafe
Colette Evangelista sells certified organic, non-toxic beauty, health, baby and home products at www.healthandhopeorganics.com. Twenty percent of her profits go to Ascending Above Autisim, a charity that helps parents pay for autism treatment.