The weather report is grim for the next week with the wind chill expected to dip into single digits. For some reason, this news immediately made me think of soup. Really, what better way is there to warm up than with a piping hot bowl of soup? But where can one find delicious soup in Reston? I set out (with spoon in hand) to find out.
Admittedly, this quest was not focused on ethnic restaurants at the outset. It just turned out — by happy accident — that these four particular soups interested me the most. Perhaps a follow-up article is in order for more traditionally American soups… (Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments!)
First up, Kalypso’s Sports Tavern’s Avgolemono soup. The base for this iconic Greek soup consists of chicken broth, egg and lemon. It’s a brightly flavored soup with shredded chicken and rice giving it some texture. Ruth Reichl, the former editor of Gourmet Magazine calls avgolemono “pure comfort in a bowl.” I doubt she’s ever been to Kalypso’s (or Reston for that matter) but I assure you she is spot on. It’s creamy without the addition of cream, and fresh and light because of the lemon. Heaven after too much eggnog over the past two weeks! Make this soup a meal with an order of Kalypso’s outrageously good spanakopita. You’ll thank me.
Kalyspo’s Sports Tavern
1617 Washington Plaza N
Reston, VA 20190
Pack your bags, from Greece we head to Thailand! Reston’s newest Thai restaurant, Hibiscus Thai, is a brightly lit and colorfully decorated place that boasts some of the most flavorful dishes in town. They also make one of the best bowls Tom Ka Gai that I have ever tasted. Tom Ka Gai is a traditional chicken and coconut soup. It’s the perfect blend of hot, sour, salty and sweet flavors. This balance of flavors is something that Southeast Asian countries have perfected.
The Tom Ka Gai at Hibiscus is a spicy combination of ginger, lemongrass, red curry paste and red chilis. Coconut milk mellows out those strong flavors making this soup rich and addictive. Finally, the addition of chicken, mushrooms and fresh herbs transform it from a starter into a complete meal in a bowl. (Although, their chicken lettuce wraps are also killer!)
Hibiscus Thai Cuisine
11790 Baron Cameron Avenue
Reston, VA 20190
Continuing our ’round the world soup tour, next stop Turkey! People have been telling me about TurCuisine in Worldgate Centre in Herndon for years. Worldgate seems to be a hotbed for ethnic restaurants. There’s sushi, Thai, Indian, and Turkish at TurCuisine. The menu has a wide variety of traditional meze and kebabs but it’s the Lentil Soup I’m after. When I first ordered it, I expected the usual brown lentils with maybe some spinach tossed in for good measure. What I got was something completely different — red lentils pureed with spices such as paprika and maybe a little cumin. It was smooth and filling and delightfully flavorful. A little Aleppo pepper (provided at each table) adds a lovely hit of color plus subtle heat to the yellow soup. I was so surprised to find such a fabulous and tasty bowl of soup at this little restaurant. I also enjoyed (so did my 5 year old son) the Sigara Borek, deep fried cigar-shaped rolls filled with feta cheese and parsley. We left with full bellies and smiles on our faces.
Worldgate Centre, 13029 Worldgate Drive
Herndon, VA 20170
Our final destination is Vietnam! Everyone knows Phở Reston 75 in Tall Oaks is famous for serving up consistently good and piping hot bowls of Phở (Vietnamese broth soup with rice noodles and chicken or beef), but there is a hidden gem among their extensive menu. The Lẩu Canh Chua Ðồ Biển or Tamarind Soup with Seafood Hot Pot provides a sour and spicy foe (ha!) to the rich mellow flavors of traditional Phở.
Literally translated as sour soup, Canh Chia combines a medley of seafood along with pineapple, tomatoes, scallions, bean sprouts, lime and a variety of herbs such as cilantro and basil in fish stock. This is by far the most boldly flavored soup I have ever encountered. The portion at Phở Reston 75 is made for two, so bring a friend or take half home for lunch the next day. The hot pot is served with vermicelli rice noodles perfect for slurping up the sour and savory soup. This soup is only available after 5pm, so bundle up and brave the cold — it’s totally worth it!
Phở Reston 75
Tall Oaks Shopping Center
12020 North Shore Drive
Reston, VA 20190
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