Category Archives: Queens

49 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Tortilleria Nixtamal’s Pozole: Plenty of Ingredients But Needs a Dash of Flavor

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  You won’t spend much, and you probably won’t gain any weight, but you won’t taste much either.

Let’s start with the restaurant’s name, Tortilleria Nixtamal.  “Nixtamalization” (“nixtamal” in Mexican Spanish), according to Wikipedia, “refers to a process for the preparation of maize (corn), or other grain, in which the grain is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater, and hulled.”  Doing this increases the nutritional value and flavor, so I guess you can feel good about eating tortillas and hominy, which are produced by using this method.

Tortilleria Nixtamal's Pozole (part of "Recovery Special")

That’s good news because there was lots of hominy in Tortilleria Nixtamal’s pozole ($6 bowl, or get a smaller portion as part of their “Recovery Special” combo for $7).  The whole bowl felt healthy.  An almost too-light, non-oily pork broth would be further seasoned after picking from your own personal garnish bar of raw onions, radishes, lettuce, oregano, fresh lime and a tostada.  But a few sprinkles, crumbles and squeezes later, I still craved something bolder.

The hominy provided a nice, chewy texture, and I always love me some pork (pernil), but, overall, it just wasn’t that special.  If I still lived in NYC, I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to get some again.  That would only happen if I lived within a couple blocks and needed to do some recovering.

Tortilleria Nixtamal
104-05 47th Avenue (btwn 104th and 108th Sts)
Corona, NY 11368
718-699-2434
http://www.tortillerianixtamal.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!


46 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Tropical Restaurant’s Caldo de Bola: A Soup with Hidden Treasures

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  Lots of flavor.  A variety of ingredients.  It’s like a farmer’s market in a bowl.

I’m back!  Being almost settled into my new apartment in sunny Los Angeles means finally having some breathing room to finish writing about the last five soups.

The night JM and I went to Sripraphai, my original plan was to do a Queens soup marathon and go to Sripraphai, Tropical and Tortilleria Nixtamal.  I only had a few days left before I was moving to LA, so I was trying to bang them out, especially since it’s not easy trekking out to various Queens locations.  But I realized quickly that I was being unrealistic.  JM and I had a lot more packing to do, and we just didn’t have the energy or time to be going on a soup tour.  So we decided to eat at Sripraphai only, and I would finish the rest of my journey during my short NYC biz trip two weeks later.

As I lugged my very full stomach back to the train station, I noticed a sign – Tropical!  Was this the same restaurant I was supposed to try in a different location?  I studied the menu and then googled it, and, yes, it was.  Hallelujah!

I ordered the Caldo de Bola (or Sopa de Bola de Verde) ($9.99) – a traditional soup from the Coastal region in Ecuador – to go.  There was just no way I could eat anymore.  Even in the wee hours of the morning, after some more packing, I didn’t burn any of the Thai food off.  So I heated some up the next day for dinner.

Tropical’s Caldo de Bola

The meaty and cilantro-y broth was filled with huge chunks of carrot, corn on the cob, beef and yuca.  But, as big as these ingredients were, they were overshadowed by the canon ball-sized “meatballs” which were actually green plaintain dumplings filled with ground meat, diced carrots, green peas and pieces of egg.  I thought I had seen and tasted it all until I opened up these hidden treasures.

It was a delicious discovery, but the dumplings were extremely tough to eat with a wimpy plastic spoon that almost broke when I tried to dig in.  Had I not packed my spoons already, I would’ve been able to gobble the soup up a lot more quickly.  I’ll take it as a lesson that I should eat more delicately…like the lady I am.

Tropical
67-22 Roosevelt Ave.
Woodside, NY 11377
718.205.6027
http://www.tropicalrestaurante.com/

Other Locations

88-19 Jamaica Ave.
Woodhaven, NY 11421

36-10 Greenpoint Ave.
Long Island City, NY 11101

62-27 Fresh Pond Rd.
Middle Village, NY 11379

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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!


45 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Sripraphai’s Tom Kha Gai: I Still Prefer the Other Tom

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  I still like Tom Yum Goong better.

Since many years ago, I had heard a lot about Sripraphai from my Thai friends.  I’d always wanted to try it, but it was rare for anyone to really go out there for some Thai food.  So I was glad to see that this restaurant made the list.  Now I had to go.

It was a tad disappointing to see that the featured soup was Tom Kha Gai ($4.50 small; $8.50 large) since I’m a huge fan of Tom Yum Goong ($5 small; $9 large), but at least it got me to try something new.

The first thing to note is that, while New York Magazine indulged in a large, all you need is a small, unless you’re going to share with a group of friends.  The small alone was extremely filling.  Packed with shrimp, oyster mushrooms and large chunks of chicken, you basically had your dinner entree right there.

Sripraphai's Tom Kha Gai

The coconut milk broth was enhanced by a huge chunk of galangal (ginger), chili peppers, cilantro, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, giving you a nice balance of creamy, sweet and tangy.  I expected the chili peppers to make it extremely spicy, as Thai people like to eat their food, but it wasn’t spicy at all.

It was definitely a delicious soup, but I remain loyal to my Tom Yum (which was actually really good, too) since, as you know, I prefer clear broths, not milky ones.

Sripraphai
64-13 39th Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377
718.899.9599
http://www.sripraphairestaurant.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!


39 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Arirang’s Chicken Ginseng Soup: Get a Few Packs of Breath Mints Ready

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  Vampires – watch out.

Good thing CD was having friends over to watch the Filipino boxer, Nonita Donaire Jr., fight Mexico’s Montiel ’cause, otherwise, I’m not sure I would’ve ever made it all the way out to Flushing for this Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup ($17.95), aka Samgyetang, at Arirang.

It’s a small hole-in-the-wall joint where you might expect some good home cooking.  Right when you walk in, the hyper older Korean woman immediately pushes the Samgyetang on you.  Service is definitely both slow and rushed at the same time, but somehow you’re able to forgive them for it.

Arirang's Chicken Ginseng Soup ("Samgyetang")

The soup comes out in a steaming hot stone bowl (awesome on a freezing day like the day we went).  Before I could get a proper photo, the same woman rushes over, takes the ladle and stirs it all up.  It was like a tornado just swooshed on by, and nothing landed in our individual bowls.  I ended up serving both me and JM.

After the storm...

There was definitely a lot of stuff going on in that one bowl:  whole chicken (game hen?) with bones and all, chunks of fresh garlic, sticky rice, stalks of ginseng, black sesame seeds, scallions, one ball of chestnut and salt and pepper that you add to your liking.

Sticky rice and stuff

But all I tasted was garlic.

After a while, the sticky rice soaked up most of the broth so that it became even more like a Chinese congee.  JM said it reminded him of a Filipino dish as well.  (Which came first, eh??!)

Ginseng and stuff...

I think it was good and soothing, but JM and I both would’ve preferred a larger broth-to-other stuff ratio.  What would’ve been even better was if they brought out a huge pot for the $17.95 price tag.

And, again, for me, it might as well have been called garlic soup.  Could it have been a winner if I loved and could handle garlic?  Not so sure.  One thing’s for sure, though:  I think I could’ve also knocked out Montiel just by breathing on him.

Arirang
137-38 Northern Blvd (near Main St.)
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 661-5454

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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!


27 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Agnanti’s Trahana Soup: Not a Rare Treat

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  Lots of cheese, like a French Onion, but it’s no French Onion.

I trekked all the way from Downtown Brooklyn to the end of the N line in Astoria – working my way through the puzzle of a screwed up weekend subway system – for some Greek soup with MS.  It took an hour to get there, and it was bitter cold, so I was praying for a soup that was worth my effort.

Agnanti's Trahana Soup

MS ordered the special lentil soup, while I ordered the designated Trahana ($5.50, which is a $1 increase from 2009).  Now, if you just look at the photo, you can see that there’s not much to the Trahana.  Sometimes, the simplest can be the tastiest, but not this time.  Clear, vegetable broth with teeny tiny bits of semolina pasta, strings of tomato that might as well not be there, and chewy globs of kasseri cheese that gave an overwhelming flavor made up this simple bowl.

In my notes, I had written “tastes like goat cheese?”  When I looked up what kasseri cheese was, I found out that it’s a sheep’s milk cheese that has “very little, if any, goat’s milk mixed in,” according to Wikipedia.  I definitely tasted the goatiness, which I never love, but I also think that, had it not been there, this soup would’ve just tasted like bland salt water.

New York magazine called this soup a “rarity,” and I’m ok with it staying that way.  MS’s lentil soup was much better – lots of flavor and spices.

Agnanti
19-06 Ditmars Blvd
Astoria, NY 11105-3658
(718) 545-4554
http://www.agnantimeze.com/

New Brooklyn Location
78-02 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11202
718-833-7033

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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!


2 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Taste Good’s Singapore Kari Laksa

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  Go treat your taste buds NOW!

Despite being a total retard trying to get to the restaurant and taking a massive detour in the bitter, bitter, BITTER cold, we arrived, nearly frozen, to an extremely pleasant, hot meal.  Six of us purposely trekked out to Elmhurst, Queens to try the Singapore Kari Laksa, and it didn’t disappoint.  It wasn’t nearly as spicy as I thought it was going to be, which is great for me (but maybe not preferred by others).  I didn’t need that Pepcid afterall!

The noodles in the Laksa were of the thick, clear kind (WOOHOO!) cooked to perfection – al dente-ish.  The milky coconut goodness combined with whatever spices they infused into the soup made my heart melt.  The meat and seafood ingredients were also delicious, but, really, as long as the broth and noodles were great, I was a happy camper.

Had some other dishes that I can’t remember the names of, but they all made my taste buds sing with delight.  I’m glad that I could thaw out enough to chew and taste everything to its fullest.

The price tag for such a memorable meal?  If memory serves me right, we only paid about $21 per couple, including tip.  So that would be about $10-11 per person.  That’s right folks, it’s worth the trek out to Queens for Taste Good because it tastes good!!  And it’s cheap!

TASTE GOOD
8218 45th Ave
Elmurst, NY
(718) 898-8001

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!