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Posted March 19th 2007, 2:05pm
Made a trip to Souperman for lunch a couple weeks back. If I worked in the Crossroads, I'd return; I probably won't make a special trip from NE JoCo.

Initially we'd planned to lunch at 1924 Main, but when it was closed due to a burst pipe, we went to Souperman instead.

I got the roast pork "sanditto" (I really hate that word), and a cup of poblano corn chowder. My wife had the brisket and blue cheese and the ham and white bean soup.

We both got the small orders; I can't imagine how big the large must be. These are no chintzy portions.

I thought the food was fine. With my sanditto Cubano, as it were, I really just wished it were a regular cubano. I can see the tortilla advantage from a convenience standpoint, a pre-prep standpoint, a marketing gimmick standpoint, but I'd much prefer really good bread. Tortilla wraps, to me, have too many bites with too much tortilla, and it’s hard to balance the flavors. Brisket sandwich was decent too, though more unbalanced than the pork, with cheese and mayo dominating one side. Also, the beef was kind of stringy--not in a "bad beef" way, but in a way that made the sandwich a little difficult to eat.

Soups were both fine, but very salty. Sandwiches were salty too, actually. Also, they were too chunky for my taste...they sort of struck me as a really good canned soup. I was hoping for something a little more refined.

All in all, I like the idea behind this place. It didn't execute quite as well as I'd have hoped. The marketing conceit plays to the sympathies of people who post on boards like this. I like the super-hero/fast food fighter motif; I'm very glad to see a nice, local, non-chain alternative pop up.

And yet (I really feel guilty saying this), I felt like the big portion, pre-prepared, oversalted aspects of the meal are some of the same things I dislike about the chains. I can imagine Rob Dalzell hearing this and really getting pissed. I understand there’s still a great (and important) difference between a local joint like Souperman and a behemoth like Chipotle. Still, it was very easy for me to stand in Souperman and imagine 5 or 10 around town, and the next town and the next town. And you know, Chipotle has its place. On its own merits (anti-chain bias aside) Souperman didn’t do all that much to distinguish itself.

I’m curious to hear if others have at all the same feeling.

Souperman
1724 Main St
Kansas City, MO 64108
816-421-SOUP
http://www.kansascitymenus.com/souperman/
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