As you might expect, Zoup is a soup-and-salad place, new to the West End of Richmond last week. We found a restaurant with some early open jitters, a flow that takes getting used to, but a soup offering and gimmick that will keep at least one of us coming back.
We each took the “Take Two” option of a side soup and half-sandwich, standard fare. Zoup’s claim to fame is its variety of soups. They boast over a hundred soup recipes, but they only offer twelve each day and rotate through them. Offering twelve daily soups allows for variety beyond the standard “chicken noodle soup and French onion” that they’d have to offer daily with a static menu. Each soup was clearly labeled as appropriate for vegetarian, gluten-free, spicy, healthy, etc. They’re quick to offer samples if you’re having trouble choosing.
I was intrigued by the Chicken Pot Pie soup but settled on the Zesty 3 Pepper Chicken soup and Southwest Turkey sandwich on ciabatta. The bread was well toasted, but a bit greasier than it should have been. Although the menu didn’t label the sandwich as spicy, I expected a sandwich with Chipotle mayo and pepper jack cheese to have some kick. It had none. Still, good bread well-toasted usually means “good sandwich” and that was my impression here.
The spiciness of the sandwich might have been overpowered by the soup, which I’d rate as a solid Medium (or a Supermarket Salsa “Hot!”). This tomato-base soup had a great consistency and kick and it was gone before I knew it. I finished my entire portion of soup before getting to the halfway point on the sandwich, which is not normal. The only low point for me was the bread that came with the soup which was clearly thawed from frozen, dry and bland. And also the wrong bread: I got Adam’s “sourdough” and he got my “French” and we didn’t notice because they were equally inconsequential. And I airquoted those on purpose, the sourdough was merely suggestive of that style.
Adam ordered the Lemon Lentil soup and a Turkey Club sandwich. He described the soup as good and healthy and acknowledged that a less healthy soup might have been better, but it was tasty all the same. Good texture to the lentils (they weren’t mush) and the lemon and pepper worked well together. He was severely disappointed in his sandwich. The club was a flavorless mess between merely “ok” toasted bread.
In the end, 52L could not reach consensus, a rarity for us. Adam said he’d never return, clearly preferring Panera, which is the obvious comparable for this place. Adam rarely gets a soup at Panera, sticking to sandwiches and salads (we did not try a Zalad). I agree that Zoup’s sandwiches do not merit a switch, but I love a good soup and this was a great soup, better than any I have had at Panera. I am also intrigued by Zoup’s soup menu gimmick. I can see myself returning to Zoup, but perhaps not with Adam.
Lunch topics: Call of Duty: Ghosts… ” an accountant’s sequel“,
GTA V, dedicated servers explained, the crappiness of PSN, why we’ll never have cross-platform online play, Planet money on payday loans and Amazon vine, Amazon pricing checking and algorithm, designing visualizations around data and vice versa