Critic's Notebook

Best Summer Soups in Seattle

Where to slurp when the temperature soars.

By Kathryn Robinson July 22, 2013

Hiyashi Chyashu, or cold soba noodle bukkake soup, at Miyabe 45th

Have I been seeing more cold soups on menus lately, or just aiming into them more in this brilliant stretch of summer heat? Doesn't matter. Here are some good ones.

Tilth: One of the first around here to offer a regular rotation of cold soups, chef Maria Hines often includes a shotglass of something like, say, a cold Walla Walla sweet puree as a gratis amuse bouche. I recall a chilled heirloom cucumber soup with cured salmon and fresh marjoram from one visit as the quintessence of cool. A recent menu held chilled pea soup with crème fraiche and pea shoots.

Harvest Vine: At this underheralded Basque mainstay in Madison Valley the spotlight generally falls on tapas, but the gazpacho is vivid and fine, and adds garlicky zest to a balmy evening.

Miyabi 45th: New this year, Miyabi 45th is both sister restaurant to Miyabi in Tukwila and the home kitchen of Mutsuko Soma, who used to cook at Chez Shea. Her specialty is homemade soba noodles, the robust buckwheat staple of Japanese soups. Under the category bukkake--a variant of soup in which noodles and broth all arrive in the same bowl (also, ahem,  slang for a sex act and porn genre; google at your own risk)--the soup hiyashi chyashu features cool soba in a cool broth with unctuous pork, marinated egg, vegetables, and a smear of hot karashi mustard on the side.

The Walrus and the Carpenter: If you have the tenacity and time to actually snag a table at this ridiculously popular oyster bar during the height of tourist season, you may be blessed with a chilled vegetable soup—cucumber with crab and tarragon oil on a recent visit. Don’t stop there: peek at the dessert menu to see if it holds one of this city’s great summer finishers—strawberry soup, kissed with pistachios.


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