More sour soups are on offer at Browne Trading on Commercial Street, where you get pretty good soup for less money than just about anywhere else — $4 for a pint, and $7 for a quart. That sour flavor was not unpleasant, just a little unexpected, in the crab with asparagus in a thick creamy broth. It was filled with big, flat, white pieces of crab that did not make the soup taste very crabby. The asparagus was very soft, and could have used a bit more crunch. A soup of spicy shrimp and sausage offered bitter cabbage in a bitter broth, with the taste of paprika and pepper. Red beans, stewed tomatoes, tiny shrimp, and little chunks of sausage lurked in the thin, pale, orangish liquid. The first spoonful sort of shocked my palate, but I grew to like this soup as I went along.
It seems that some day soon there will be a new place dedicated to soup. Acoustic Coffee has renamed itself Goat’s Head Soup (after the subdued Rolling Stones album), and seems to be working out some licensing issues before it reopens. But until there is a soup house on every corner we will have to bundle up and brave the cold to get the nourishing warm liquid our souls require. Soup places don’t deliver.
Ladle | 58 Exchange St, Portland | 207.874.7687
Duckfat | 43 Middle St, Portland | 207.774.8080
Browne Trading | 262 Commercial St # 3, Portland | 207.775.7560
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