The Soup Lady had occasion to attend a luncheon at a Main Line (Philadelphia) restaurant yesterday, Basil Bistro & Bar. I'm pretty sure they have their own goat tied up in the back alley because every other menu item featured fresh goat cheese. I'm all for fresh goat cheese, but there is a limit. By page 3, you should give it a rest already.
Three people in our party ordered soup to start, and none of it went over too well. The first soup was a Manhattan Clam Chowder. It took only one spoonfull for the recipeint to exclaim "Salty!" That always makes me nervous - what are they trying to cover up in that stock pot? Strike 1.
The Soup Lady had the Lobster and Crab Bisque. The creamy base was properly pinkish and did have some flavor, but it arrived in its bowl at just above room temperature. It was not described as a cold soup so I have to conclude that it sat too long after being ladeled out. To add insult to the whole thing, there were a few bits of lobster and crab meat in the center of the bowl. Obviously, they were placed there before the soup itself was dished out because they made no pretense to being part of a blend. They were sized just right for a soup spoon to deliver without a struggle, but were way too big to be passed off as garnish. Strike 2.
The real clunker in the bunch had a featured place on the menu and it was called White Bean, Chicken and Escarole -Better Than Onion!- Soup. An individual crock was delivered to the table that looked for all the world like French Onion Soup - all cheesy melt over a lump of bread. What a bizarre combination of ideas it was - a thin chicken base, chunks of obviously left-over grilled chicken breast floating next to some carrot rounds and celery slices. A grand total of 7 beans were found beneath the abundant escarole but only after a concentrated search was conducted. More than half the soup was left in the bowl. Strike 3.
And so Basil's Bistro & Bar has been called OUT! as a reasonable place to order soup. The goat cheese wasn't bad, though.