Wednesday, May 8, 2013

REVIEW: The Soup Depot

Hey, everyone! Today's post is another local Ri-view (Haha, get it? Ri. View. Cuz' my name is Ri. And I'm reviewing... Yeahhhh, you get it). This time, Sweet and SavoRi's spotlight is on Kenosha's very own Soup Depot, a cute little cafe that sells dozens of different sandwiches (I counted 38 cold ones, 5 hot) and a bunch of other menu items. They also have a big breakfast menu with omelettes, egg sandwiches, and sides. Best part? Breakfast can be ordered all day! (Yes!!! Does anyone else think it's awesome when restaurants do that?!) The Soup Depot also specializes in- you guessed it- soup. They make a few different batches of homemade soup fresh every day. This means that, some days, you might be able to get something like Clam Chowder, while other times, you may not. But don't get mad if you walk in and find the soup you want is unavailable- Soup Depot has a list of which soups are served which days here.

It's odd- Soup Depot is one of the closest restaurants near my house, yet I've only been there once. I can't even tell you what it was like, since the last time I was there was four or five years ago, and I can't remember that far back. I know I had soup, and I think it was the Chicken Dumpling, but back then I didn't place food at such a high importance as I do now, so I really didn't even care. I guess that makes the Soup Depot a good spot to review. It would be like a brand-new experience for me, more or less.
Can you see the goose? It's hard to tell- She's right under the tree.
So, we headed off- Mama and I, along with my little brother and his friend. We could've walked to Soup Depot (it really is just that close), but we went by car. I'm kind of lazy- I prefer the car anyway. When we pulled into the parking lot, I saw a goose, and right underneath it's derriere were several white, shiny spheres. They were eggs, of course. It was strange to see a goose's nest. I had never, ever seen one before, let alone one in an outlet mall parking lot. There was a big head of lettuce, along with a plastic bin filled with water by the goose, so we figured either Soup Depot or the Chinese restaurant, Hong Kong, were taking care of her. But let me tell you- I know the truth: Hong Kong was planning to fatten the mama up and make her into Peking Duck, then take her babies for Egg Foo Young! (Gasp!)
But all joking aside, I know that's not true. I like Hong Kong. They have really good Chinese food. And I'm sure they're good people who are kindhearted and honest and would never use a dirty goose for a duck dish. And they most certainly use farm-raised chicken eggs for Egg Foo Young. I was kidding. So please don't hurt me!!!
Well, after we gawked at the goose, our small grouped headed into the Soup Depot. It was quiet... too quiet. Seriously, other than the few people working there, there wasn't a soul to be found. Some might say that that could be a bad omen of the food to come, but I'm sure they were just having a slow day. Soup Depot doesn't really seem like the type of place people would go out to on Saturday night anyway, you know? It's usually pizza, or some type of chain restaurant, I'd think.

Since we were the only customers there, we were seated promptly by our waitress. She was young and quiet, but quick and efficient, and very sweet. Too bad she didn't give us her name; I could compliment her so much on here that her boss would have to give her a raise! Ah well, her loss. Throughout the dinner, she refilled our drinks whenever we were running low. (Except for me. She would Ri-fill mine. Badum-crash!)
The Soup Depot's menu is extensive, and doesn't follow a certain theme. There are regular diner sandwiches, but then you'll find stuff like quesadillas, pasta dishes, and even prime rib. After deliberating my choices, I finally settled on the Grilled Chicken Pita, which comes with tomatoes, grilled onions, and a side of Tzatziki sauce.  Mama got the Beef Supreme, a sandwich made up of thin sliced roasted beef, grilled onions, green peppers, and mozzarella. My little brother got a B.L.T. (Since bacon is his first love), and his friend got a Gyro Sandwich. We all made our sandwiches meals, which includes soup, fries, and a drink. Out of the few choices we had, everyone at the table ordered the Chicken Noodle.
After we placed our orders, the soups were the first thing to arrive. They came in small bowls and were served with a side of saltines and homemade garlic bread for dipping. The soup was a mixture of broth, cubed chicken, carrots, celery, and a HECK of a lot of noodles. There were so many noodles that I couldn't even see the broth! From my health-conscious perspective, this was a bit upsetting, but I tried to forget about the amount of noodles and just focus on the taste.
The noodles in my soup were al dente and soft, and I enjoyed them every much. Their were several little cubes of chicken too, but since I like meat so much, I wished there were more of them. I would've exchanged half of the noodles for more chicken cubes. The chicken was tender. The carrots were cooked well. They were firm. Not too hard or too mushy. The celery didn't stand out at all. Celery always has a mild, watery taste, and the Soup Depot's was cut rather thin for the Chicken Noodle, so it went unnoticed. The best part of the soup was the broth: It was tasty and flavorful. There were some green spices floating around in the liquid. I'm not really sure what spices they were exactly, but they made the broth taste great! It wasn't bland in the least bit, so there was no reason to add any extra salt. The whole bowl was pleasant and warmed me up from the inside-out.
I didn't eat any of my garlic bread, but Mama said it was seasoned great. She said the toast was most delicious when dunked in her soup. My little brother's friend agreed. It was crispy-crunchy, and looked to be made with baguette bread. Everyone else enjoyed their bowls of soup as well, expect my brother, who didn't want any. His loss! It was a great soup and I would've eagerly just had a big bowl of that for dinner.
Fries, pepperoncini, pickle, Tzatziki!
As our group conversed and relaxed, our waitress brought out our sandwiches. (And a party of two were sitting in the next booth over! Finally! More people!). My pita was wrapped up to keep it from getting cool, and was served with a pile of french fries, two pepperocini, and a pickle spear. The Tzatziki sauce was in a tiny plastic cup on the side. As I opened up the foil wrapping, I was greeted by a warm, fluffy pita, topped with several big chunks of seasoned, grilled chicken, tomato slices, and thin onion strands. I couldn't wait to eat! I first ate my pickle and pepperoncini to get them out of the way. I love pickles and hot peppers- I could eat a whole jar of each! I tried to put the hot pepperocini onto my pita, but figured that would alter the original taste.

Before I took an official bite out of my pita, I first plucked out a small piece of chicken and popped it into my mouth to test it by itself. It was hard to find a smaller piece of chicken to try, since all the chunks were very large. I guess you could say they were like irregular-shaped strips. The chicken was juicy and warm. It had a good peppery flavor, and was a bit salty. It was very savory. I could tell it was grilled great too- It had a slight crunch on the outside, but the inside was full of soft, chewy, chickeney goodness!I wanted to pour the Tzatziki on my pita, since I felt that was a part of the whole pita experience, but I dabbed a little on my finger and stuck it in on my tongue before I did. See, my family used to eat gyros occasionally for dinner when I was much younger, and I never liked Tzatziki back then. I had hoped that by now, my tastes had changed. Well... I am very proud to say they did! I thought Tzatziki would have some bitter, weird taste, but it didn't. It was actually a very mild, cool taste. It was slighty refreshing too. But since I only had a tiny dab, I didn't think I had perceived the whole flavor in its entirety. Either way, I poured the sauce all over my pita, trying to spread it around evenly. Time to take a bite!
As soon as my lips hit the pita, I acknowledged how salty it was. But I like salt. And all of the salt brought out the flavor of the warm pita. The pita bread was chewy and thick, and had a hearty feel to it. It was grilled, perhaps a bit too long, since the ends of the bread were too crunchy for my liking. But the middle was soft and doughy, and with the Tzatziki smothered all around it, was ever so delicious.
The bro's B.L.T.
Speaking of the Tzatziki- You really get the full depth of it when you have more than just a little bit of sauce placed on your index finger. It was creamy and had a yogurt-like consistency, since that is what the sauce is made from. As I ate through my pita, I really couldn't stop thinking about just how creamy the Tzatziki was. And when it started to become warm and melt all over the pita... Yum! I don't know what it was about it, but somehow, that sauce was really addicting! I found that odd, because its flavor isn't dynamic or anything. It's mild. It has slight, slight undertones of dill and cucumber, but that's it. A small taste of dairy too, I suppose. But really, that's all! I just don't understand what it was about that sauce that made me try to scrape more out of its container with my knife, or try dipping my pita in whatever was left (which remained cool in the container, and gave the pita a warm/cold combo all at once), or try getting the sauce on the side with my finger. I don't get it at all, but dang! was it good!
But enough swooning over the sauce- The rest of the pita was awesome too, and deserves some praise! The vegetables really did their job well. The onions were cut just right- Looking at them at first, they were really thin and stringy, but after eating my meal, I found this to be the best. Sometimes, slices of onion fall out of whatever you're eating if they are cut but too big, so you end up eating the whole strand when you didn't want to, but this wasn't the case with the onions in my chicken gyro, which were also sweet and distinct.
The tomatoes were ripe and were cut into big, decent-sized slices. They were juicy, which was good, but a bit overripe at the same time. I noticed my little brother's friend's tomato slices were a deep red in the center and very pulpy- You know how really ripe tomatoes look when you slice them open. It was like that.
I've also said how good the chicken tasted, and that taste was consistent throughout my whole pita. If one thing could be improved about it though, it would have to be the way the chicken was cut. The chicken was cute into very thick chunks, so sometimes I'd end up eating a whole big strip and there'd be an area of my pita where there wasn't any chicken left. Smaller, thinner strips would improve the overall control quality of the pita. Oh, the chicken, by the way, tasted so good with the Tzatziki. Just ta' let you know!
Before I knew it, I had eaten my whole pita! I wished I had seconds. But all I could do was envy my brother's friend, who still had more than half of his gyro left. My chicken pita was just so flavorful and tasty- it makes me wonder how the Soup Depot's other fare tastes! If the rest of their menu is anything like my pita, I'd guess ve-Ri good!!! (Get it? Haha!)
Mama's big Beef Supreme! Served with a side of au jus.
Mama, by the by, said her Beef Supreme was great. I think her only complaint was that she could've done without the cheese. But I think this is only since she's trying to get trim. Her sandwich was already super-huge (it was served with a serrated knife!!!), so adding a whole ton of mozzarella just makes it seem that much more guilt-ridden. I don't blame the poor gal. My brother said his B.L.T. was good, but it needed less lettuce, more bacon (go fig!). My brother's friend said his gyro was good. When asked if he could change anything about it, he said no. Descriptive little guy, huh? Mama also substituted her fries for a fresh fruit salad, which had bananas, purple grapes, strawberries, melon, and kiwi. We all shared it, and it made a great, healthy dessert!
Before I go, I'd also like to mention the great atmosphere that the Soup Depot holds. It's a very non-gimmicky cafe, as evidenced by the wide array of items they serve. There aren't any fast-talking waitresses, or any wild decorations of sorts. The Soup Depot has that feeling of home. It feels like you've just been asked by your mama to choose anything for dinner, and she's cooked it up special just for you. Its a quiet, cute place to eat, and has such a warm and strong feeling of home away from home. It's also very family-friendly. I can easily see the Soup Depot as being that place some families make tradition of going to every Tuesday or something (I don't know why Tuesday, exactly- Just pulling it out of the hat).  You really feel like you can relax and chill, and just have a good ol' time. The prices aren't bad either, so I suggest going here when you're family feels like eating out, but doesn't want to spend a whole bunch of money.
I really hope I'll be visiting the Soup Depot again in the near future. I'm excited to see what else they have in store- With such a big menu, there's nearly a whole world of options.

Time to evaluate the soup...

RiRi Rates The Soup Depot as: 8.25/10

Soup Depot on Urbanspoon

Well, I hope you guys will give the Soup Depot a chance and stop by. For breakfast, lunch, or dinner, they're your guy! (Haha, I sound like an advertisement). Have any of you been to the Soup Depot before? What did you think? What is your favorite menu item there? Do you like Tzatziki? Leave your comments down below! I'd love to hear your opinions! Till' next then, this has been RiRi Ri-viewing!

The young, brave-hearted Odysseus gives this spot two paws up. Yea, verily!

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