SOUP NUTSY (aka Soup Market, 222 Bay, concourse level, at King, 416-304-1383) Complete meals for $9. Average main $6. Open Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 5 pm. Closed Saturday, Sunday, holidays. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNN
The Soup Nutsy isn’t exactly the easiest place to find. Even though nine years ago I reviewed the local fast food outlet that appropriated its name and premise from TV’s legendary Seinfeld Soup Nazi episode, after three recent attempts to revisit it, I’m still lost in the labyrinth of the PATH system. A phone call to the resto is little help.
"We’re around the back of Shoppers Drug Mart," I’m informed.
Well, that certainly narrows it down. I eventually find Mr. Nutsy beneath the Ernst & Young Tower near the tunnel that joins it to Commerce Court. And no wonder I couldn’t find the joint on any directory. Since property management deemed its name too contentious, the Soup Nutsy now goes by the name Soup Market, despite the Nutsy signage that warns, "Form line here or no soup for you!"
I join the swiftly moving lunchtime queue and soon am tucking into a quite remarkable bowl of Senegalese peanut soup. Thickened with short-grain rice and peanut butter, this West African comfort food comes loaded with shredded chicken, cubed bell pepper and soft-boiled rather than crunchy toasted nuts.
Sherried beef stroganoff (both $6.25, all 12 ounces and sided with a multigrain roll and a choice of fruit or carrot sticks) gets most of its punch from its cream of mushroom base laced with sour cream, while Jamaican crab bisque ($7.25) sees a curry-kissed Creole gumbo rife with seafood and al dente celery and a pinch of peppery paprika.
But forget the soup-lite fix. The Nutsy’s dire Vegetable Miracle Diet Soup ($6.25) could put you off food permanently.