2146 East Susquehanna Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19122
I wrote about Soup Kitchen Cafe's pulled pork almost a year ago and have been working my way through the menu since. I can't give enough praise to this place – reasonably priced, freshly made, and great service all add up to a perfect neighborhood spot. Oh, and they make incredible soup.
The (vegetarian) curried lentil soup is no joke. It tastes as hearty as any meat-broth-based soup I have had, and the curry gives it a complex spicy flavor. It was so robust, I had a hard time believing that it was actually vegetarian. I was lapping it up and wishing for more before I even finished the bowl.
Truth be told, I was actually going to write about a couple of sandwiches, ones that I've experienced over a number of trips, but I had some camera issues and lost about half of the images. So I had to force myself (quite willingly) to get some shots for this post. The house-made crab cake sandwich boasts roasted pepper aioli, arugula, lemon vinaigrette, and preserved lemons on brioche. The cake itself was mostly meat, and the majority of the filler was fresh herbs. Can't complain about that. The lemon vinaigrette added an acidic freshness that brightened up the crab cake, while the roasted pepper aioli made sure nothing was dry. I also love brioche, so this thing was right up my alley. Again, the complimentary side salad (this time was chickpea) was a fresh and welcome bite on the side.
I once again fell prey to the beer braised pulled pork, and I once again was a victim of deliciousness. The apple, jalapeno & red cabbage slaw, North Carolina BBQ sauce (my favorite) and jalapeno-garlic aioli did not disappoint. Rich, succulent meat with crisp toppings, tart BBQ sauce and a spicy, rich aioli is a flavor explosion on a bun. This is one hell of a pulled pork sandwich. And at $8.5, its one of the best deals around. You will not leave hungry if you order this sandwich. But just in case, you should probably get some soup too.
Soup Kitchen Cafe is definitely a neighborhood gem, but I wouldn't pigeonhole it into a neighborhood-only category. I would certainly skip the attitude, spotty food, and downright terrible service at Johnny Brenda's for the deliciousness that is Soup Kitchen Cafe. Oh, and you can bring your own beer or wine, so you really have no excuse at this point.