Zoup Werks
 Kent, Ohio            Date of Visit: 03/27/12            

I have been hearing about this place for months now. The opinions have been fiercely bi-polar. Itís either awesome or horrible. I like soup. They have soup. We made arrangements. This was also the first time since Buffalo I went without Steph. If we waited til we could schedule a lunch together the buildings might crumble before we got there. Fortunately, a couple of our regular fellow diners are close by and available and we met out front to the sounds of construction in the renovating Acorn Alley in Kent.



Welcome Back, 70's

The place is sort of a clean version of a 70ís hang out with disco balls, tunes you havenít heard in a long time (or never if youíre not old enough), and loads of old band posters. The service is sort of cafeteria style with a steam table of soups and a cold table of sammitch prep. We ordered a vegan vegetable rice soup, a tortellini soup and the lobstah and sweet corn bisque. We also shared a slow smoked pulled pork sandwich and a buffalo chicken sandwich.

The soups were all fine, nothing I would crave, but still redeeming. All were stuffed with appropriate ingredients and although the vegetable and tortellini options needed adjustment for salt and pepper they were all right. The chowder (chowdah) was sweet and somewhat lobstery with a nice kick of sherry but could never hope to match the layers and depths of places like Canton Dockside in Baltimore or Mulligans in Canton. Not bad for Kent but nothing by comparison. The soups change on a regular basis and I will likely be back to try some others, I donít expect to be horribly disappointed or phenomenally wowed.

Soups Du

Very Vegetabley Vegan Rice Soup

Another Full Bowl, Do You Think The Light We Were Sitting Under Was Yellow?

Good Corn/Lobster Bisque, Far From Extraordinary

The sandwiches were another story. One was delicious and the other tragic. The website goes into great detail trumpeting their pulled pork. I found it to be nearly inedible. The pork was fall apart tender and their ďho-madeĒ sauce might have been alright with itís tamarindy tang. The problem was the smoke. Severe, harsh, abrasive, it was almost like drinking liquid smoke. Donít ask, you do weird things in culinary school. I love the smoky essence of Q. Itís why I like bourbon. This was like licking the inside of the charred barrel that is meant to impart the taste. I hope it was an off day, if they are trying to talk everyone walking in the door to eat this sandwich, they could lose a lot of business if it is this brutally smoky every day. The buffalo chicken was not what I expected. Not a fried chunk of chicken with some sauce on a roll, their version uses roasted and pulled chicken that is steeping in a spicy and tangy broth of hot sauce. Stacked on a Kaiser roll and topped with bleu cheese crumbles and red onions the whole mess (both sandwiches were stuffed and literal messes in a good way) is topped with a cucumber wasabi sauce. God Lord this was good. It tasted so good I didn't miss any of the texture that usually comes from contact with frying oil. It reminded me of the wings at The Anchor Bar in Buffalo. Every little molecule had aligned to support each other in a quest towards delicious awesome.

I found myself in the middle of the divergent reviews about Zoup Werks, pretty good and original soups, a really good sandwich and some shortcomings. Good enough that there are other things on the menu I am interested in trying.


Like Little Characters On Your Shoulders, One Wore A Polished Halo...

...One Had Horns And Smelled Of Brimstone, Harsh Smoky Brimstone



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