Over the last few years, the Soup Spoon Cafe has become one of my favorite restaurants in town. It is nestled on Michigan Avenue just east of Sparrow Hospital. If you're there at a hot time, parking can be a nightmare. Deal with it.
I have eaten breakfast at the Spoon several times. To the best of my recollection, I have had the Smoked Salmon Benedict every time. I harbor a lot of grand romantic ideas about going out to breakfast and eating a stack of pancakes, but this never seems to happen. I like my pancakes of the whole wheat, dark chocolate chip-studded variety, and I generally make these at home for myself.
The Spoon has a full espresso bar and the coffee is serious stuff. They use Rudy Baggs coffee, a local company that is fronted by a yogi with a red goatee. My sister-in-law (SIL) loves the Breakfast Wrap, and after studying that menu a bit more I think I'm going to have to try the Stacked French Toast as soon as I can tear myself away from the Salmon Benedict.
I have loved the BLT, the Reuben, and the Grilled Cheese and Tomato. I hate the sides that are offered- kettle chips or cole slaw. I would love to see a green salad or cup of soup option instead. My favorite sandwich is the Cubano, but the Fish Tacos give the Cubano a run for its money (especially on Lenten Fridays.)
I've done a soup flight many times. They always offer special soups that aren't on the menu, and the pumpkin bisque a few months back was some of the best soup I have ever had. It wasn't sweet, because I wouldn't have eaten it otherwise, and it had a delicious kick to it. The above-mentioned SIL loves the Seafood Chowder and hasn't stopped attempting to replicate it at home.
The Greek Island Plate boasts a spicy feta spread that is incredible. And remember, babies, I don't like cheese.
The Hangar Steak. It pains me to order anything else.
However, I have ordered other dinners. A few days ago I had a Smoked Salmon Salad. It was perfect, after I swapped the raspberry vinaigrette for balsamic. I love, LOVE a hard-boiled egg on a salad.
The East Side Chicken has looked delicious as other people have eaten it. I, of course, can't abide the goat cheese. To the best of my recollection, the Diablo Pork Loin was a bit dry. The Voodoo Pasta and Spoon-i-Pino didn't blow me away, but it's difficult to impress me with a pasta dish. Without fail, SIL attacks the Voodoo Pasta like she's never going to eat again. Seafood Santorini was forgettable.
I am a lover of a good filet and a big fan of lamb, but both of these dishes pale in comparison to the Hangar Steak. Just let your eyes treat your brain to this description-
Hanger Steak* – Argentinean chimichurri rubbed 8oz hanger steak, grilled and sliced, topped with fresh avocado salsa and served with a smoky ancho jus, potatoes dauphanoise and fresh vegetable.
I have eaten this at least six times (in the last three months.) I recommend it to everyone I know. As I watch other people eat this steak while I eat something different, I swallow jealousy along with every bite. It is delicious.
On New Years Eve I had a strip steak. Should have gotten the Hangar.
If you think you don't like bread pudding, I have two observations.
1. You're an idiot.
2. You haven't had the bread pudding at the Soup Spoon.
They bring you a warm little saucer bubbling over with caramel sauce and cinnamon. Whipped cream dots the plate. The bread pudding sits in the center, swimming in sauce that you will be tempted to drink. The smell alone tantalizes. It is rich, and sweet, and perfect with coffee. Simply put, it is the best bread pudding I have ever had.
A few days ago as the waitress was offering dessert, I started to shake my head at the mention of the chocolate torte. "We don't want any crap," I said. "That measly, dry, crumbly mess that I've had before is no good" (it's amazing that people even speak to me. What a charmer.)
"We have a NEW chocolate dessert," she said. "We also have a new cheesecake with caramel and pecans." Twist my arm. We ordered both of the new dessert (and the bread pudding, obviously) and homegirl earned a zillion-dollar tip. This new chocolate concoction is GOOD. I can't even tell you what it is, aside from the facts that it is wonderfully rich and mousse-y. The cheesecake was good too, if you like that sort of thing (and I do. That's why I had to go to yoga twice yesterday.)
It's almost impossible to have a bad meal at the Soup Spoon. If you've had one, tell me. And be prepared to sit for a lie-detector test.