In typical South Louisiana fashion, we just got through a Christmas that was mild at best only to experience bitter cold now as Mardi Gras season begins, a time when we most want to be outside. You can bundle up, guzzle lava-like coffee, resort to hibernation, or (my favorite) warm yourself up from the inside out with a piping-hot bowl of soup.
Pretty much every restaurant is bound to offer a cup of something warm and tasty, but these are some of the best you will find in Terrebonne and Lafourche.
Tomato Basil Soup | The Weeping Willow
Thibodaux’s charming downtown cafe gets a lot of attention for its coffee and baked goods (and rightfully so), but the savory side of the menu is the real star. Nothing beats a Willow Sandwich (turkey, ham, Swiss cheese, pesto, and lettuce tossed in Caesar dressing) and their tomato basil soup. It’s hands down the best tomato soup I’ve ever had, and I’ve enjoyed quite a few others. It’s thick and slightly chunky, which makes it perfect for dipping your sandwich made with fresh baked bread. The flavor is incredible, packed with garlic and basil. You can get a cookie or cake ball for dessert, but make sure you get a cup of this great soup.
Brisket Pho | White Bowl
If you haven’t enjoyed this Vietnamese classic yet, now is the perfect time to get acquainted. It’s simply a noodle soup with an amazing broth, full of deep flavors. White Bowl lets you pick your protein, and while it seems most people are initially drawn to steak or chicken, I suggest the brisket. It’s perfectly tender and flavorful with just a bit of fat, which adds to the broth. The best part is dressing it up to your liking with the accompanying plate of crispy bean sprouts and fresh cilantro, jalapeno, and basil. Don’t forget to spice it up with chili sauce!
Goi Theal Neua (Beef Noodle Soup) | Song Phi Nong
Before White Bowl brought Vietnamese food to the area, I had to get my pho fix with a similar soup nearby at a Thai restaurant. Song Phi Nong’s beef soup also features thin noodles in a powerful broth and is served with all the same fixings but sets itself apart with its rich beefy flavor that coats your lips after each sip. Tender sliced beef and Asian meatballs make the soup a meal unto itself. And as with the rest of the menu, you can order the soup as spicy as you’d like on a five point scale. Start at 2, you can always add more heat later.
Smoked Duck & Andouille Gumbo | Fremin’s
I’m very particular about my gumbo. Very few restaurant gumbos, while tasty, manage to rival a good homemade version. Fremin’s signature smoked duck and andouille gumbo is one of the exceptions, not just for our area, but anywhere. The broth is dark like every good gumbo’s should be. You can easily detect the smokiness of the duck, but it’s never overwhelming. Instead, it makes a distinct and tasty impression that makes me even more particular when I taste other gumbos. Fremin’s sets the bar high.
Gyoza Soup | Jinsan
With the exception of gumbo, my favorite soups are usually the star of the meal or at least support the entree (think soup and sandwich like at The Weeping Willow above). Instead, I’ll almost always order an appetizer over a cup of soup. Thankfully, South Lafourche’s sole Japanese restaurant Jinsan doesn’t make me choose. Do I want some fried dumplings or a hot cup of Osumoshi soup? Their gyoza soup is the best of both worlds: Light steamy broth with noodles and mushrooms and meaty dumplings. It’s the perfect start to a meal of cold, raw, delicious sushi.
What’s your favorite soup in Terrebonne and Lafourche? Let us know on Facebook if we overlooked a good one so we can add it to the list!