Why You Should Think Twice Before Ordering The Soup Of The Day

When dining out, chances are your selected restaurant will list out the "soup of the day," or, couched in elegant French, the "soup du jour." This special menu item is more than just a creative option for those who prefer a warm bowl of soup over a salad. It's long been a clever tool for chefs to add an easy and economical meal option to their line-up. Still, there are a few things that a potential diner needs to consider before they select this thrifty soup option.

First, understand that the soup of the day often makes use of the odds and ends that a kitchen has in reserve. This makes the soup of the day a resourceful menu item, and one that may not include the freshest ingredients. Second, many former servers have mentioned on social media that these soup dishes remain in rotation for much longer than they should. So sometimes, the soup of the day is really the soup of the month. Finally, even if the soup isn't a rehash of old ingredients or past its prime freshness, some restaurant soups can be sourced from a processed, store-bought can. Of course, not all restaurant's soup of the day is unworthy. How can you tell the difference between the two?

It's not always the freshest option

To kick it off, consider what kind of soup you're ordering. Cheddar broccoli soup, corn chowder, and tomato soup are easy to find in can form, tempting some restaurants to sub in the processed mixes for the real stuff. Instead, consider ordering items like bouillabaisse or gumbo, which are multi-layered soups that aren't easily replicated from mixes. Also look for soups that use seasonal ingredients that are hard to fake in the off-season, like she-crab soup and creamy watercress soup.

Next, take a page from Gordon Ramsey's book. In an interview with Town & Country, the celebrity chef called out the soup of the day as a dodgy menu item. His solution? Ask your server how long said soup of the day has actually been in rotation. If it's been served all week, chances are the soup is older and less appetizing than other, fresher items on the menu. Your server will most likely be honest with you on what items you should try, so trust them if they steer you away from the soup of the day. With these steps in mind, you'll be able to separate the standouts from the duds.