Soul-Stirring: Soup in JXN

When the temperature drops, there is nothing like a cup or bowl of soup to make you feel warm and cozy.

Gumbo at Hal & Mal's. Image: Hal & Mal's

A soup can be brothy, silky, hearty, depending on the ingredients and preparation, it’s anything you need it to be - including the unexpected!

Here are just a few options for soup in the City With Soul to keep you warm through the season.

Hal and Mal’s - 200 Commerce Street

When Hal White opened Hal & Mal’s with his brother, Malcolm, in 1985, neither dreamed it would become a downtown Jackson institution.

With Malcolm running the front of the house, Hal held down the kitchen. And in that kitchen, Hal became famous for his delicious house-made soups.

Sadly, Hal passed away in 2013, but he left his soup recipes behind, and they are still enjoyed by patrons of Hal & Mal’s today.

Hal’s soup du jour could be an old favorite, or it could be a real eyebrow-raiser. As their menu states, “only your server knows for sure just what the chef has concocted.”

Myrtis’s Bayou Gumbo is served daily, a loving tribute to the White brothers’ Aunt Myrtis, who trapped crabs in a bayou near Gautier, Mississippi. The gumbo is made with fresh seafood, smoked ham and vegetables, and of course, it is simmered in a rich roux and served over hot rice.

If it’s Friday, order a bowl of the seafood bisque, rich with Gulf shrimp and crab in a creamy broth.

Pro tip: If you are a gumbo fanatic, you can't go wrong at Char or Broadstreet either.

tomato soup in a green bowl with a sandwich  on a colorful table
Tomato soup and a panini sandwich at Basil's. Image: Find It In Fondren

Basil’s - 120 North Congress Street (Downtown) and 2906 North State Street (Fondren)

While it’s not the only soup served at Basil’s, the one on the menu year-round is the tomato basil: a creamy soup with chunks of fresh tomato served with fresh parmesan and topped with fresh basil.

When the weather gets colder, more soups appear on the menu at each location. It could be a seven bean and ham soup, loaded baked potato soup, French onion soup or something else, depending on the chef’s mood that day.

All the soups are house-made and can be paired with one of Basil’s famous paninis on house-baked focaccia bread.

A bowl of chicken tortilla soup
Newk's chicken tortilla soup. Image: Newk's

Newk’s Eatery - 4450 Interstate 55 North

Regulars at Newk’s Eatery have their choice of several scratch-made soups.

The chicken tortilla soup features a rich chicken broth swimming with chicken and vegetables seasoned with a touch of ancho chilies, corn masa and cilantro. The loaded potato is a creamy chowder of potatoes, chives, bacon, sour cream, and melted cheese for a heartier soup.

Another belly-filling choice is the lobster and crab bisque with blue crab and cold-water lobster meat in a savory seafood broth, finished with cream and a touch of sherry. For a lighter soup, the tomato basil is a creamy slow-simmered soup made with fresh tomatoes and hints of carrot, celery, onion and garlic.

The newest offering on Newk’s soup menu is spinach and feta, a creamy mix of feta cheese, spinach, potatoes, onion and sour cream garnished with fresh basil.

Soup
Steve's Senegalese soup. Image: Steve's

Steve’s Downtown Deli and Bakery - Downtown (two locations - Congress Street and Lamar Street)

Steve’s Downtown Deli and Bakery has become known for the delicious soups served daily. In business for ten years, Steve’s has expanded from its original location at 125 South Congress Street in Capitol Towers to a second location at 200 South Lamar Street in City Center North.

The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch and offers entrees and soups to go for customers who want to heat and eat at home.

All soups are made fresh in-house and change daily.

Customers rave about Steve’s signature Senegalese peanut chicken soup. Still, the gumbo Yaya, Texas red chili, and Southwest black bean with sausage, curried carrot and coconut and the organic carrot ginger bisque are popular options.

Check their website for daily specials to see what soups are being ladled up this week.

a closeup of soup in a spoon with a mushroom
Soup at Thailicious. Image: Thailicious

Thailicious – 3000 Old Canton Road

For a soup with an Asian flair, visit Thailicious, where Tom Yum soup is served. The classic hot and sour soup is loaded with mushrooms, lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal, roasted red pepper paste, green onions and cilantro and is served with rice.

Or try the Tom Kha soup, made with coconut milk, lime juice, lemongrass, galangal, cabbage, mushrooms, onion, green onion, and cilantro. Also popular is the wonton soup, featuring gyoza in a flavorful broth with added napa cabbage, mushrooms, carrots and onion, topped with green onion, cilantro and fried garlic, served with rice.

But the real showstopper is the restaurant’s namesake soup, Thailicious, a traditional delicate coconut milk soup with fresh mushrooms, galangal, lemongrass, lime leaves, green onion and cilantro, served with rice. All soups are available as a cup (small) or a bowl (large).

a bowl of soup with crackers on the side
Aladdin's red lentil soup

Aladdin Mediterranean Grill - 730 Lakeland Drive

Yosef Ali serves up his popular lentil soup at Aladdin Mediterranean Grill, a tangy, traditional soup made with boiled red lentils and spices and served with crispy baked pita chips.

The soup is not thick but instead is a silky bowl of goodness. The lentils are barely noticeable, cooked down to perfection.

At only $2.95 a cup, the red lentil soup is the ideal starter for a traditional Mediterranean meal.

Susan Marquez

Author

Susan Marquez

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