French onion soup at Le Diplomate. Photo courtesy of Le Diplomate Facebook
Is there a better soup than French onion? It looks less like a soup and more like a bowl of melted cheese, croutons and caramelized onions with just the right amount of broth, so in our opinion, no. And since there are a lot of soup similarities, here’s a bowl for every French onion craving.
The ultra-cheesy: The Diplomat
1601 14th St., NO
Le Dip French Onion Soup doesn’t skimp on the cheese, which is piled onto slices of the brewery’s delicious homemade baguette and toasted until bubbly. You won’t see the robust onion broth upon arrival, but it is hiding under all of that amazing processed cheese.
The classic: Friendly
801 W Street, NO
Leave it to a French chef like Cédric Maupillier to perfect French Onion Soup. Classic bowls, rich in caramelized onions and white wine and served with a relatively small amount of Gruyere, are a staple at brunch or dinner at the Shaw Brasserie.
The classic (with a little twist): Central
1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Some things have not changed on Central’s menu over the past 13 years, although the place now has a new look and a new chef. That’s true for onion soup: a full-bodied classic with beef broth and caramelized onions, slightly tangy with the addition of provolone.
The vegetarian: Primrose
3000 12th St., NE
You won’t miss the beef broth in Primrose’s vegetarian riff. A rich, earthy liquid derives its flavor from kombu, mushrooms and deeply caramelized onions. Sorry, vegans, the gooey toppings of Gruyere and Emmental are here to stay.
The soup and fire combo: La Chaumière
2813 M St., NO
Is there anything better than dipping into a pot of soup next to a warming fire? The winter dream is a reality at this Georgetown mainstay, who takes his classics seriously. Gratinée Lyonnaise traditionally obtains a rich touch with the addition of egg yolks and a dash of Port.
Soup with a view: Parc de Ville
8296 Glass Alley, Fairfax
When it’s not absolutely cold (remember that time?), We love to relax with a bowl of French onions in the chic rooftop wine bar of this Mosaic Quarter brasserie. Good news: you can still enjoy Chef Brendan L’Etoile’s classic indoors, even on colder days when al fresco is not an option. Note that the charming French clans Cafe Colline in Arlington and Chez Billy Sud in Georgetown also offer the soup.
The new soup in town! Duck Duck Goose
2100 P St., NO
Chef Ashish Alfred’s new French brasserie, a romantic Dupont Circle spot with warm brick walls and flickering candles, is not a carbon copy of its sister establishments in Bethesda and Baltimore. One thing the three have in common: you guessed it, sushi! We’re kidding, it’s a really delicious French onion soup. Pair it with equally warm dishes like duck confit.
The French dip-French onion mashup: Randy’s Prime Seafood and Steak
8051 Leesburg Pk., Vienna
Two of our obsessions — French dip sandwiches and French onion soup — come together in this craving sandwich. Tysons steakhouse stacks finely sliced prime rib on a butter bun from sister bakery Best Buns, and accentuates it with melt-in-the-mouth gruyere, caramelized onions, truffled bearnaise aioli and hot beef jus. Duck fat fries take over.