This summer has been exceptionally scortching in DC. Yet even with 100-degree plus temps, I still found myself craving soup–the one dish that is certainly not desireable in this heat. Luckily for me, several DC restaurants have adapted their menus for the summer, featuring an abundance of refreshing soups that highlight the season’s produce. Here are three of my favorites:
Blue Duck Tavern’s Watermelon Gazpacho
Known for its rustic American cooking, Blue Duck Tavern manages to elevate even the simplest of dishes with its emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. Its watermelon gazpacho ($12, photographed above), recently featured as the soup of the day, was emblematic of its refined culinary approach. Each bite was utterly refreshing, with the sweetness of the watermelon tempered by a generous drizzle of olive oil, ultimately making the soup more of a savory dish. Served chilled, with fresh baked croutons and minty, slightly licorice-flavored herbs on top, it was a terrific, unique take on the classic gazpacho.
Fiola’s Summer Corn Gazpacho
I look forward to corn on the cob every summer, and Fiola’s summer corn gazpacho captures that sweet corn flavor in every bite. The soup arrived chilled over a bowl of ice, garnished with beautiful purple flowers. The texture was thicker and smoother than your typical gazpacho, with kernels of fresh golden corn throughout. Featured as a starter on their “Maria’s Light Menu” (which is a steal for $24), Fiola’s summer corn gazpacho was a light and cooling introduction to what would be a fabulous lunch.
Brasserie Beck’s English Pea Soup
Brasserie Beck’s English pea soup has the distinction of being the only hot soup to make this list. Its temperature was not an issue at all, as the soup was possibly one of the most delicious dishes I ate all summer. Creamy, pale green soup was poured over thick pieces of bacon, and topped with a perfectly poached egg and chives. Despite the rich ingredients, the soup was incredibly light and left me wanting to lick my bowl for more. It was creamy, earthy, savory, sweet, and slightly smoky all at once, but the fresh pea flavor definitely stood out above the rest.