Category Archives: Type of Soup

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.

64-13 39th Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377


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!


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


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


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!

36 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Shopsin’s Chicken Tortilla Avocado Soup: Big on Size, Not on Taste

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  It should be a sin to charge $15 on a bowl of soup that doesn’t deliver on taste, regardless of its size.

I’m WAY behind in my blogging.  Thirteen entries to write.  I’ve clearly been good about the eating part.  Thirteen soups in two weeks = crazy town.  Let’s not waste anymore time…

I’d been trying to go to Shopsin’s a few times, but it never happened due to their early closing hours (2 or 3pm Wed-Sun).  I’m either at work, which is too far away, or I’m sleeping in on the weekends.

Finally, after realizing I only had a couple weeks left to eat my way through the list, I went during my lunch hour one day.

Shopsin's Chicken Tortilla Avocado Soup

When I first saw “Chicken Tortilla Avocado Soup” ($15) on the list, I couldn’t wait to try it.  I love tortilla soup.  But this one fell short.  Fresh, browned chicken chunks were thrown in with a mish-mosh of sporadic items:  a seemingly whole head of browned cabbage which were cut into huge shreds that made it difficult to eat; onions; avocado chunks; big yellow, barley- and corn-like kernels (aka hominy); black beans; cilantro; celery; and other leafy greens.  The big tortilla chips that layered the bottom were as hidden as the level 3 spiciness that I had requested (on a scale of 1 to 6, with 6 being the spiciest and most popular).  And the entire thing needed a boost of salt.

This photo doesn't accurately show how gigantic the bowl was.

Overall, the taste was almost as bland as the earthy tones of the ingredients, and there was just way too much going on, as if they threw all of their leftovers from the pantry into the pot.  But I didn’t hate it and enjoyed it as my “free” dinner, after upping the sodium levels.

The highlights were the bright blue of the actual bowl, the cute older chef who wore suspenders with a tshirt, glasses and army green train conductor hat, the other spunky chef who was a clear Mets fan, and the yummy free sweet treats from a local bakery that they let you pick out of a box.

Even though they give you enough soup to share between two to three people, the $15 wasn’t worth it.

120 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002


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!

33 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Estelle’s Chicken Soup at Fred’s at Barneys Leaves You (and Your Wallet) Empty

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  Go to Barney’s to feed your closet, not your stomach.

In my 10.5 years living in NYC, the only time I stepped into Barneys was because I had to use the bathroom.  That was the only thing I could afford to do there.  When I ventured there last week for lunch, I was expecting no less than an expensive meal that would leave me needing a second lunch.

“Grandma’s recipe to cure colds and stay thin.”  That’s how the menu described Estelle’s Chicken Soup ($11) at Fred’s, the department store’s restaurant.  I can’t confirm if it would actually cure a cold, but I can confirm that I’d probably stay thin if I ate this all the time:  I would never feel full just eating one bowl, and I’d never have money left to buy myself some more food.


Estelle's Chicken Soup at Fred's at Barneys

The shredded chicken filled most of the shallow bowl, which also contained a sprinkle of diced carrots, celery and fresh parsley, and a light coating of golden broth.  I was less than impressed, especially with its $11 price tag.  It was really nothing special (no offense to Estelle who is/was, I’m sure, a very special woman), and, in fact, it tasted just like the chicken soup I made about a month ago.

I think the lesson here is that I should start selling small bowls of my own soup and charging up the wazoo for it.  Maybe then I could afford a luxury item from Barneys.

Fred’s at Barneys
660 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10065


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!

28 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Grand Bo Ky’s Seafood Flat Noodle Soup is a B Flat

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  If you like to take risks, and you need something that’s just a couple notches above Top Ramen, then go for it.

Have I mentioned my OCD?  Have I mentioned my weak stomach?  So what do I do when I walk up to Grand Bo Ky and encounter a “B” rating on the front window?  Say, “oh boy” to JM and walk in, of course!

Let me shed some light on this new NYC rating system.  A “B” rating means anywhere from 14-27 violations.  I didn’t realize it was this bad until my good friend JH actually frighteningly talked about it just a few days before this outing.  Anything lower than an “A” for him was a huge no-no.  And, in the case of Grand Bo Ky, the New York health inspectors cited 22 whopping violations (so a B-), which have only improved by two since February 2010.  Here are their violations (those in red are “critical”):

1) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations.
2) Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
3) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.

If you didn’t think I was dedicated to this soup journey before, do you believe me now?  Sure, I’ve eaten at plenty of unsavory-looking Chinese restaurants before, even various food carts, but being told up front that you might get food poisoning makes it impossible for me to blame the restaurant later.  ;o)

One thing to know about me right off the bat is that I don’t really gravitate towards seafood, especially if it isn’t accompanied by or cooked in some sauce, isn’t fried or isn’t raw oysters.  Big, plain chunks of seafood in broth?  Not my thing.

Grand Bo Ky's Seafood Flat Noodle Soup

So, as much as I didn’t want to order the Seafood Flat Noodle Soup ($5.25), it turned out better than I expected.  In general, I looooove flat, wide chow fun noodles, and these were cooked just right.  The broth was nice and light.  The white and black pepper gave it a nice kick.  The three measly shrimp were just sad, and their long pooplines didn’t help their look.  The big, curly squid seemed fresh enough and were as chewy and tasteless as chewy and tasteless can be.  The fish balls were, well, most likely fish balls from a frozen package, which I don’t mind.  And the bean sprouts were M.I.A. until I was almost done the bowl.  Lots more cilantro would’ve been nice, and even some green veggies (scallions don’t count).

So did I finish the bowl?  I finished all except for a piece of squid.  I was hungry!!

Did my stomach pay for it later?  Yes, it was playing a sad little tune afterwards.  And I wish it was just my sensitive tummy, but JM’s was playing its own little dramatic tune after his bowl of wonton noodle soup (which was even less tasty than mine).  Could it be some bad, bad roaches made their way into our bowls?

Here’s what I think – seafood lovers may enjoy this, but, if you’re looking for bold flavors, go elsewhere.  And, unless you’re really strapped for money and need something just a few notes above Top Ramen, easily wobbly stomachs like mine should find fulfillment in A-grade restaurants only.

Grand Bo Ky
216 Grand St.  (btwn Mott St & Elizabeth St)
New York, NY 10013
(212) 219-9228


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.

19-06 Ditmars Blvd
Astoria, NY 11105-3658
(718) 545-4554

New Brooklyn Location
78-02 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11202


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


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!