Category Archives: West Village

44 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Perry Street’s Squash Soup: Like a Jackson Pollock Painting

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  A strong, intriguing bowl.

It’s as if Perry Street and Felidia swapped menus.  I was supposed to try the Chicken Broth with Market Vegetables, Dill and Lime at Perry Street, but, instead, they were serving Squash Soup with Mimolette and Crouton ($10).

Just like Felidia turned a simple chicken soup into something unique, Perry Street spun their Squash Soup into a somewhat crazy work of art.  If you compare it to Dovetail’s butternut squash soup, whereas Dovetail’s was more minimalist and elegant, Perry Street’s was more like a Jackson Pollock painting, especially after you mixed the ingredients together.

Perry Street's Squash Soup

The pureed sweet squash was poured, tableside, atop a mix of shaved mimolette*, toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped chives, and crunchy crouton flakes.  Then, just when you thought that was it, they topped that off with some foam that tasted like cheese.

Stir it all together, and what you get is a very complex – and strong – flavor with great textures.  There was even a spicy kick to it that I couldn’t figure out.  Unfortunately, after a while, I started wishing I only had a simple squash puree with some seasoning since it became too heavy and overwhelming for me.  But it’s a bowl that deserves appreciation, and some may really enjoy it.

And, after reading chef Cedric Vongerichten’s quote for his featured chicken broth, it looks like texture and tableside pouring are his things.  From what I’ve seen with his squash soup, I’d actually like to see what he does with his chicken soup.

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*According to Wikipedia, mimolette is a cow’s milk cheese originally made by the request of Louis XIV, who wanted a French cheese to resemble Edam, a Dutch cheese.  In order to differentiate it from Edam, however, he had it colored orange.  With a grey crust and orange flesh, it looks a lot like a cantaloupe.  And I’m grossed out to know that the grey crust is a result of cheese mites which are intentionally introduced to add flavor.  ICK!!!!!!

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Perry Street
176 Perry Street (at West St.)
New York, NY 10014
(212) 352-1900
http://www.jean-georges.com/

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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!

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43 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Grand Sichuan’s Sliced Fish Sauce Soup: Really Just a Bowl of Chili Oil

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  *barf*

Someone bring me a puke bag because writing this might actually make me puke.  I would rather not think about Grand Sichuan’s Sliced Fish Sauce Soup ($20; was $19) ever again.

First off, yes, it was $20.  They bring out a family-style bowl of it.

Grand Sichuan's Sliced Fish Sauce Soup

Below the thick, red chili oil and bushel of red chili peppers lay some thin fillets of fish (skin on and bone in), cilantro, celery sticks, napa cabbage, leeks and squares of tofu.

Here are a few things that were said by me, TK, KF and MS:

“I feel like I’m eating oil.”

“(It’s like) pepper juice.”

“I can’t taste anything else but chili oil.”

I’d rather drink a bottle of pepto.

No one really touched the soup after the first sip.  I, on the other hand, decided that the non-fish items were good enough to eat with my rice.  Without any “broth” it was edible.

My friend told me about “twilight anesthesia” this morning – it keeps you conscious but sleepy, and you forget the entire experience afterwards.  This is exactly what we needed that night while trying this nastiness.

When the waitress came by and asked me if we wanted it wrapped, I wanted to say “hellz no, it was nasty!” but I didn’t know how to express that in Mandarin.  The best I could do was say, politely, “No, it was too oily.”  I guess that’s a good thing?

Grand Sichuan
15 Seventh Avenue South (near Leroy St.)
New York, NY 10014
212.645.2222
http://www.thegrandsichuan.com/contact/7ave

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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!


32 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – i Sodi’s Pappa al Pomodoro: M.I.A.

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  Don’t feature soups in your magazine if they will only be on the menu for a week.

Unfortunately, there’s not much to write about i Sodi’s Pappa al Pomodoro soup because it wasn’t on the menu last Saturday.  And you know why it wasn’t on the menu last Saturday?  Because their menu changes weekly.  Yes, that is correct – their.  menu.  changes.  weekly.

If this is really true (and I can only believe that it is because the restaurant told me so), why in the world would New York magazine put this on their list??  Magazine readers often hold onto magazines for a while.  Foodies often like to try the things that magazines feature – sometimes sooner rather than later, but sometimes later rather than sooner.  Sure, I attempted to try this a year and two months later, but their.  menu.  changes.  WEEKLY!  So featuring a soup that may have only been on a restaurant’s menu for one week seems a bit…stupid…and annoying.  The least that New York mag could’ve done was put a disclaimer:  “i Sodi will put it on the menu during X week, so don’t miss it!”  Or maybe “i Sodi only made this specially for us, so, we’re featuring it, but, too bad, you can’t have any of this deliciousness.  Na nannee boo booooo!”

Annyyywwaayy, I’ll quit my bitching and say that, based on the actual food I ate at the restaurant (read my Yelp review of the full meal), the soup could’ve been either really good or really not so good.  I guess I’ll never know, and I really don’t care.  :o)

But I do care about you, dear readers, so I wouldn’t leave you soupless like I was.  Here are two recipes for Pappa al Pomodoro, if you care to make it on your own.

Food & Wine:  http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pappa-al-pomodoro

And another probably less fancy recipe from Food Network:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/pappa-al-pomodoro-recipe/index.html

If you try to make one, let me know how it goes!

i Sodi
105 Christopher St
(between Bedford St & Bleecker St)
New York, NY 10014
(212) 414-5774

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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!


25 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – The Spotted Pig’s Smoked Haddock Chowder: A Health Code Violation?

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:   This has to violate some health code.

I usually give second, third, maybe fourth chances.  But I’m done with The Spotted Pig.  I’d been to the restaurant before and knew that there was always a long wait.  So, back in March, I made sure to call to see if they were still serving the Tomato Soup before actually going there.  Luckily I did that because I was told that it was a winter item and to try again then.

Seven months later – my longest wait yet – I decided to try again with TSH.  Sure, it was October 19, which was technically still fall, but it definitely felt like winter.  Instead of calling this time, I had looked at their online menu first, and the Tomato Soup was listed.  Too bad the menu I received upon being seated was completely different.  Smoked Haddock Chowder?  Where’s the Tomato Soup!?!?  The waitress said that they had JUST taken it off the menu.  Sooooo, what you’re telling me is that you told me it’s a winter item, but you most definitely served it during the fall.  And when I decided to go there, you took it off the menu.  Grreeeat…

 

The Spotted Pig's Smoked Haddock Chowder

Since I had lost my patience at this point, and vowed to never waste my time there again, I decided to order the chowder ($15) which would replace the Tomato Soup as the halfway point of this journey.  The only fireworks that I got for this pivotal moment was from the spicy kick in my mouth at the end of each spoonful.  I felt like a doctor should’ve been waiting next to me since

Homemade Crackers

all of the milk, cream, oil and salt became unbearable after a few bites.  Chewing some of the homemade airy crackers on the side of the bowl provided some welcome relief, and they were probably the only thing I wanted to take home and snack on while watching a good movie.

But, if you like creamy and chunky, then you might like this.  Small diced potatoes nearly covered the bowl, while celery, carrots, ham and fresh parsley accompanied them.  Be forewarned – if you’re going to try this, make sure you’re health is in peak condition.

At $15 a bowl, I tried very hard to finish it, but I couldn’t.  My body yelled at me to stop, even though I had half left.  I didn’t get my $7.50 back, but I got halfway through my soup list…

The Spotted Pig
314 W. 11th Street (at Greenwich St.)
New York, NY 10014
(212) 620-0393
http://www.thespottedpig.com/

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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!


23 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Soto’s Miso Soup: as Unique as a Miso Soup Packet

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  The soup was as empty as the restaurant.

It was Monday, September 20, 2010.  My birthday.  My boyfriend had set up a nice dinner at Soto, thoughtfully chosen because its miso soup was on my soup list.  My brother and sister-in-law joined us since I wanted my family around me.

We walked into a small, quiet, empty restaurant, except for two lone men sitting at the sushi bar.  After reading about the Miso Soup with Sea Urchin and Lobster ($10), three of us ordered it.  I usually balk at any miso soup that’s more than $2, but “lobster and uni broth with lobster, sliced fresh ginger shoot, chive?”  Seemed like justification for an additional $8.

New York magazine described it as such:  “Presented like a gift in a traditional urushi-lacquered covered bowl, this is one luxury miso:  witness lobster-dashi stock; uni bouillon base made with miso paste and truffle oil; and an a la minute garnish of sliced myoga ginger shoots and chives.  The umami-rich broth should be sipped directly from the cup, out of respect for both the soup and the vessel.”

So the magazine thinks we should worship this little bowl, but I think that the editors must’ve been smoking something when they tasted it.  I had taken a photo on my phone and accidentally deleted it when I was deleting other photos.  That’s how memorable and precious that bowl was to me.

My take on Soto’s miso soup?  Presented in a Japanese bowl much like any other Japanese restaurant – even the questionable ones – this is one no-frills miso with just a tiny sliver of lobster meat that you might not even notice.  Witness soup that tastes as bland as a watered down miso packet from the store and a load of thinly sliced fresh ginger and baby chives floating in an attempt to bring flavor to the flavorless.  The watery broth should remain in the bowl…and in the kitchen…out of respect for your stomach and wallet, respectively, which deserve to be eating and spent on something much better.

But, while the soup was a huge disappointment and the rest of the meal was nothing to rave about, the company was just what I wanted.  I was surrounded by love.  You can’t get that in a packet.

Soto
357 Sixth Avenue (near Washington Place)
New York, NY 10079
(212) 414-3088

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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!