by Mabel Suen
January is National Soup Month, which makes sense, considering the first month of the year is typically marked with below-freezing temperatures, snow and slush. What's better than a delicious, hot bowl of soup on a chilly day? A delicious, hot bowl of soup that you don't have to make -- that's what. This January Gut Check will revisit some of our favorite hot soups to help guide your belly through this month-long soup celebration.
Few meals provide as much sustenance and sublime satisfaction as noodle soups, and udon soup is no exception. At Café Mochi (3221 South Grand Boulevard; 314-773-5000), the udon noodles and their colorful accompaniments swim in a delicate dashi broth.
Filling yet light, the classic Japanese broth provides the perfect backdrop for wide, supple wheat-flour noodles and the addition of any number of toppings -- in this case, nori, a few slices of fish cake, and a light sprinkling of mushrooms and scallions channel notes of the sea.
Still hungry? On the side is a plate of tempura-fried shrimp, onion slices, zucchini, squash, broccoli, and mushrooms with a subtly sweet soy sauce and mirin-infused dipping sauce. It offers maybe the only thing that this udon soup lacks: crunch.