Soup to Cry By

The soupe à l'oignon gratinée ($6) at Le Mistral (1420 Eldridge Parkway, 832-379-8322) is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a warmth in your stomach as the piping-hot, dark, hearty beef broth burns its way down to the very center of your being. This classic rendition of the comforting French onion soup arrives in its own terrine with the Gruyère cheese already almost completely melted on top. Brown splotches on the cheese suggest that it's been placed under the grill to heighten the meltdown. Pierce through the stringy cheese topping and the plentiful slices of onions, which help thicken the soup, to the bottom, where there's a slice of toasted French bread, soft from sitting in the broth.
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Paul Galvani