Recently, I found myself braving the post-apocalyptic wasteland located nine feet to either side of Seventh Avenue in Ybor City to check out a restaurant I’ve been hearing good things about: The Stone Soup Company.
The Stone Soup Company is nestled behind a very unassuming storefront on the main drag in Ybor. The space is long and narrow with slightly more than a handful of booths and tables lining each wall. The kitchen is open and found at the back of the restaurant. There is local art hanging on the walls (some quite interesting) and a few unnecessary TVs hovering over each booth. It’s somewhere between little-or-nothing and hoping-to-be-kind-of-hipster.
My waitress and trainee were nice but didn’t seem like they had been waitressing very long. It took a little too long to take my order, even though there were only a few other diners in the place.
I had some issues with the menu. They gave me a standard menu with red dots markered in, indicating what soups were currently available. I used said dots to formulate and place my order. A couple sat down at the booth in front of mine and claimed that the dots on each of their menus didn’t match. The waitress apologized and restated the soups available. The soups she told them were different from the ones on my menu, which was unfortunate because I wanted to order one of the soups that I thought was unavailable. I didn’t bother re-ordering.
I ordered three cups of soup: Lobster Seafood Risqué Bisque, Three Cheese Broccoli Please, and Mama’s Chicken Soup. I hate cutesy dish names. We’re all adults here. Let me order with some dignity. I also hate being served Coke from a bottle and not from a fountain. I can get a bottle of Coke at home. I do not have a fountain. Unforgivable, Stone Soup.
My first soup was brought out by the chef who said, “When you order three soups, the chef has to come out!” I thought that was nice. He was saying it to the couple in front of me as he tried to deliver my soup to them…but still. It’s the thought that counts.
The bisque was stringy, grainy, and had a general seafoodiness about it. There were no distinct or interesting flavors jumping out at me. I was underwhelmed.
The broccoli and cheese soup (forgot to photograph) tasted ok. It was smooth and cheesy but had its share of problems. The broccoli florets were few and far between, and the soup was jam packed with broccoli stems! (I think stems is the word. Right?) Some of the stems were quite large which meant many of them did not cook through, and that made for a dismal chewing experience. I could have done without the carrots as well. It’s broccoli and cheese soup. Beat it, carrots.
The chicken noodle soup was probably my least favorite of the three. It was filled to the brim with carrots, noodles, and chicken. The chicken was kind of tender and came in chucks, instead of the familiar shreds which I was expecting. Some of the chunks were gigantic. That put me off a bit. The herby-ness of the soup completely dominated its other flavors. I think the main herb I tasted was thyme. You’ll have to excuse me, I only recently starting eating and caring about food like an enlightened non-moron should. So, I’m still trying to overcome my Applebee’s palette.
I received bread with every soup. It was crispy on the outside and soft and airy inside. Standard bread, but good.
My three cups with three breads, and Coke came to $17.30.
Overall, I was disappointed with the whole experience. I had high hopes, but the place just didn’t deliver. The soup needs work. The service needs work. The menu needs work. The whole thing felt like a work in progress with everyone just figuring stuff out as they go. Where they are now is not terrible, but they do have a lot of room to improve. I can’t say I’ll be back anytime soon.
The Stone Soup Company
1517 7th Ave.
Tampa, FL, 33605