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Cold Comfort

Putting the city’s coolest summertime soups to the taste test.

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Fresh-picked berries highlight chilled hibiscus soup at Mas.  

BLT Steak
106 East 57th Street (212-752-7470)
Soup: Chilled cantaloupe soup with lime, honey, and fromage blanc sorbet, $9
Flavor: Sauternes enhances the cantaloupe’s natural sweetness, while lime and yogurty sorbet supply contrasting tartness. Floating balls of melon add texture.
Secret Ingredient: Ginger.
Chill Factor: Take it from Indian cuisine—a little spiciness, courtesy of the ginger, actually helps keep your temperature down.
Rating: 5

davidburke & donatella
106 133 East 61st Street (212-813-2121)
Soup: Cherry-rhubarb soup, $10
Flavor: Floating fresh cherries coated with coconut, then fried, have the sweet, chemical taste of bar fruit, and there’s no sign of rhubarb’s tang.
Secret Ingredient: Melted cherry Life Savers.
Chill Factor: Both too sweet and too leaden—like cloying cough medicine.
Rating: 1

industry (food)
509 East 6th Street (212-813-2121)
Soup: Summer gazpacho with yellow-pepper sorbet, $10
Flavor: As garlicky and oily as Chef Boyardee pasta sauce, with an orange color to match.
Secret Ingredient: Red-wine vinegar.
Chill Factor: Too few vegetables plus too much grease equals soup that’s far too heavy.
Rating: 2

Mas
39 Downing Street (212-255-1790)
Soup: Chilled hibiscus soup with vanilla ice cream, $9
Flavor: Subtly floral, with a sweetness that’s tempered by freshly picked blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries.
Secret Ingredient: Dried hibiscus leaves.
Chill Factor: Fresh mint and orange zest make this as bracing as iced tea.
Rating: 4

Rosa Mexicano
61 West 62nd Street (212-977-7700)
Soup: Chilled avocado-cream soup with different garnish weekly, $8
Flavor: Velvety, rich avocados taste like liquid guacamole, and a healthy helping of jalapeños adds plenty of kick.
Secret Ingredient: Mint and cilantro leaves.
Chill Factor: Garnishes like pomegranate sorbet lighten the soup effectively.
Rating: 3

Dos Caminos
475 West Broadway (212-277-4300)
Soup: Chilled green-grape gazpacho with iced red grapes and toasted almonds, $7
Flavor: Grapes and tomatillos pop on the palate, and are quickly mellowed by almond milk.
Secret Ingredient: Almond milk.
Chill Factor: The acidity of the fruit lends a chilling tartness, and cucumber’s cooling properties are legendary.
Rating: 4

INSIDER ADVICE
Alain Ducasse’s tips on making your own cold soup.

1. Use vegetables from local gardens whenever possible; they provide the most flavorful, ripe produce. Matured, sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, “trompette” zucchini, and coco beans blend very nicely in cold soups and iced “potages.”
2. Look for fresh herbs to enhance—not overpower—the soup. Coriander, mint, and chives add a pleasant perfume.
3. Eat as soon as possible. The ingredients in cold soups are often delicate, and the components may separate over time.
4. Crunchy garnishes are an added flavor booster—frizzled leeks, for example, make an ideal match for cold carrot-and-ginger soup or a classic vichyssoise. Slivered nuts also enliven any cold soup.
5. Yogurt is a great thickener and base if you’re looking to cut back on cream. It stands up to strong flavors like raw garlic and fresh mint, which are the basics in a Mediterranean yogurt-cucumber soup.


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