New England Soup Factory
by Justine Kerr
The New England Soup Factory has three branches, but don't call it a chain --
this is no high-volume, low-taste operation. The people who run these eateries
say they make their food from scratch every day, and it's true: we happened to
visit the Back Bay branch near closing time one night, and they spent the last
15 minutes divvying up the day's remaining baked goods to the customers lucky
enough to have stopped by at the right time.
Visit once, and it's almost certain you'll find a soup to come back for again
and again. We became hooked on the lobster bisque, an especially hearty version
that wasn't at all overwhelming, as cream-based soups can be. It costs $4.50 a
bowl. And everything is available in quart containers, so you can take some
home for lunch the next day. There's also an impressive selection of salads and
noodle dishes; the Oriental-chicken-and-noodle entrée was among the best
we tasted, if a little pricey at $8.25.
The one thing that left us slightly disappointed was the distinct scarcity of
vegetarian soups. Soup is an easy thing to make without meat, but of the nine
rotating varieties on offer, only one was vegetarian.
The newest New England Soup Factory, located at 855 Boylston Street (across
from the Prudential Center), is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9
p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The other two branches are in Brookline
Village and Newton.
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