MY TASTEFUL OPINION: I’d rather spend $8 on some fresh chicken and other ingredients and make chicken soup at home.
I’m not sure if it was an off day for the chefs at Tarallucci e Vino, but I wasn’t impressed with the Scrippelle ‘Mbusse at all. It’s an Italian chicken soup in which the carbs come in the form of crepes. And, at $8 a bowl, it just wasn’t worth it. Don’t get me wrong, though – it didn’t taste bad. It just wasn’t anything special and was pretty bland.
According to New York Magazine, scrippelle ‘mbusse is from Italy’s Abruzzo region and translates into “wet crepes.” The crepe, made from flour, egg and water, looks like a super thin sheet of egg. You know when you’re making an omelette and some of the egg gets swirled and cooked on the side of the pan? It’s sort of like that. It’s reminiscent of the French crepe most of us know and love, but different in that the French version is thicker and includes sugar, butter and milk.
Taralluci e Vino’s menu describes their scrippelle ‘mbusse as a “hen broth with crepes filled with Parmesan cheese.” So, I was expecting a decadently rich broth that would be complemented by the sharp and salty cheese. Instead, what I received was what seemed to be a watered-down broth, very light in color, with three crepes and a tiny morsel of Parmesan thrown in. The one time (literally) that I was able to get some cheese while biting into the crepe was a pleasant experience. Too bad the pleasantries ended there. And, since the soup was not close to being filling enough as a meal, I had to order a $10 beet salad to go with it. Even more reason for the cafe/restaurant to lower the price of the soup.
What further confounded me, after I did some research at home, was that I found an old article, again in New York Magazine, featuring the same soup as their 2006 “Best Chicken Soup” pick. Do they really think this soup is that good making it worthy of being featured again three years later as one of the best soups in NYC? Or were they just lazy this time around and didn’t want to search for something new and possibly way more exciting? Perhaps they were just going for the uniqueness factor since I’m not sure if any other restaurant makes scrippelle ‘mbusse. If that’s the case, though, it should be under the “Unique but Tastes Only Ok” soup list.
Aside from that, take a look at the photos below. The left is from New York Magazine‘s feature in 2006, and the right is the one I took during my recent experience a week ago. Let’s go back to our Highlights days and please spot the differences.
(Left) New York Magazine's photo from 2006 "Best Chicken Soup" feature; (Right) Photo from my recent experience
Which would you rather eat? I know you’re all smart enough to see what I see, so I won’t go through each observation. And I know that, just like models get their “fat” and wrinkles Photoshopped out of their photos, food items get arranged and “colored” on set to make them prettier and more appealing for a photo shoot. Not only that, I’m sure that more processing gets done to the actual photos later on. But who knows what the real story is in this case.
Whether or not the old photo was a specially-crafted version of the scrippelle ‘mbusse or the real thing back then, I wish that I could’ve Photoshopped my 2010 version to that one instead. It looks like it would’ve been much tastier.
Tarallucci e Vino
15 E. 18th Street (near Broadway)
New York, NY
Over $10 – These soups should have a gold leaf in them.
$6 to $10 – You’re not shellin’ out the gold, but also not gettin’ super lucky.
Under $6 – It’s your lucky day!