Tag Archives: Tastiest Soup

50 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – In a Pickle? Cook Your Way Out

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  If I lived close by, I could see myself going there a lot.  You can’t beat $2 for a homemade bowl of soup.  It’s cheaper than a can at the grocery store!  But there’s no reason to make a special trip just for the soup.

FINALLY!!!!!  Last soup entry!  I can hardly believe it.

Unfortunately, the actual journey to eating the final soup at PSC (Polish Slavic Center) Cafeteria in Greenpoint, Brooklyn was not what I had hoped for.  I wanted to go out with a bang.  I wanted to have a feast with a bunch of friends.  I wanted the soup to be unique.  It was supposed to be a joyous occasion, after all.

But, since I was in a rush to finish the last few soups during my last few days in NYC, I knew I was going to have to finish this alone.  I saved the pickle soup at PSC for last since it was the most unique – one that I had never heard of before this.  So, at least I was going to have one wish fulfilled.

…or so I thought.

I called the restaurant an hour before I was heading over.  In a thick Polish accent that I could barely understand, the woman said, “No pickle soup.  We have…”

#$(@_$!  I couldn’t understand what soup she said she had left, but I had to go to the restaurant anyway.  I would have no other time, unless I wanted to wait ’til my next NYC visit.

PSC Cafeteria's Barley Soup

Arriving just 20 minutes before they closed, I ordered the one soup they had left – Barley Soup ($2).  More chicken soup with barley instead of noodles.  Exciting.

Chicken, Potatoes, Carrots, Barley & More!

For $2, you get a really large portion filled with carrots, celery, dill, onion, barley, chicken and potato.  The potato made the soup thicker and cloudier than other brothy versions, and, I have to say, I enjoyed it.  It didn’t blow my mind, but it felt very homey.

It was, however, still not a pickle soup.  And that’s why I decided to try making a Polish dill pickle soup myself last night.  Being a pickle lover, I had to know what I missed out on.  And, even though I absolutely love pickles, to the point I get serious cravings for them (I’ve had to stop at a grocery store after drinking one night to pick up a jar), I wasn’t 100% sure I’d like this.  Would it be like drinking the juice from the jar?

I got this recipe from Food.com that lots and lots of reviewers, including ones with Polish relatives, raved about:  http://www.food.com/recipe/polish-dill-pickle-soup-138138.

*******************************************************************

Ingredients

      • 6 cups vegetable stock or 6 cups chicken stock or 6 cups beef stock
      • 4 large dill pickles, shredded
      • 1/2 cup pickle juice, from the pickle jar
      • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced potatoes
      • 2 tablespoons instant flour
      • 1 cup milk
      • 1 eggs
      • 2 tablespoons soft butter

Garnish

    • chopped fresh dill
    • sour cream
    • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan or soup pot with cover, combine stock, pickles, pickle liquid & potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook covered, over low heat until potatoes start to get soft (about 10 minutes).
  2. Combine flour and milk, add to broth, bring to a boil and remove from heat.
  3. Combine egg and butter and stir into broth.
  4. Return pot to the stove and heat through without boiling. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with sour cream and or dill.
*******************************************************************

Here’s what I changed:
– I made my own beef broth, using beef neck bones.  Note:  PSC Cafeteria apparently uses a pork broth base.
– I chopped the potatoes into small cubes, and then mashed them in the pot after they got soft.
– Instead of whole milk, I used fat-free milk (some other reviewers did, too).
– Instead of whole sour cream, I used fat-free sour cream.

I served it as an appetizer for me and JM, and I could tell JM was skeptical.  I was, too.

Polish Dill Pickle Soup - Made by Yours Truly

I didn’t notice the heart-shaped sour cream dollop until I was taking the photo.  Interesting, eh?  I sure as heck put a lot of love into this.  Too bad I didn’t want to finish my bowl.  I really did feel like I was drinking pickle juice and cream, and I was conscious of the fact that all the dairy would really mess up my stomach later (and it did).  I wonder if people who love dirty martini’s would like this.  JM didn’t say “Mmmmmmmm,” but he didn’t object either.  He was even going to take the leftovers for lunch today!

Does PSC Cafeteria’s pickle soup taste similar?  Does it taste a lot better?  I’m still curious.

So there you have it.  The adventure has come to an end.  I’ve obviously learned about some new soups, but, mostly, I think I’ve confirmed that you can’t always believe what the magazines or “professionals” say.  You may not even agree with what I’ve said.  But I’m glad that New York magazine published the December 2009 issue.  It got me to try new things and experience new places.  So yay to that!

Perhaps I’ll see you on my next blog.  Until then, remain SOUPer!  ;op

~ Tynee

PSC Cafeteria
177 Kent Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222
718-349-1033

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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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42 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Felidia’s Chicken “Noodle” Soup: One of the Best Chicken Noodle Soups

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  Far from boring.

“This is the best chicken soup I’ve ever had.”  That’s what JM said after having some of Felidia’s Chicken Soup ($15).

Zuppa Di Zucca – Roasted Butternut Squash Soup – was the one featured on the list, but they didn’t have it on the menu.  I had definitely groaned in my head when the waiter told us what the soup du jour was because I was pretty tired of the same old chicken noodle soup that cost too much and was nothing special.  In fact, I didn’t even think you could really make this type of soup unique.  Well, Felidia (celeb chef, Lidia Bastianich’s, resto) proved me wrong.

Felidia's Chicken Soup

mmm, chicken

At first you see ingredients just like any other chicken soup – shreds of fresh chicken, carrots and leeks (I don’t believe I saw celery).  Then you taste the broth, which was one of the more flavorful ones out there.  But what separated this one from all the other ones

The bestest "noodle" out there

were the “noodles.”  This was no ordinary white pasta.  Instead, it was bread rolled up into dough with some cheese.  Homemade, omg-give-me-more-of-this awesomeness.  It added a whole new dimension to typical chicken soup.

But, again, it always comes back to what you’re getting for the money.  Were these noodles worth $15?  Probably not.  If it were $10 a bowl, maybe.

PS – Looks like they have the Zuppa Di Zucca as part of their Pre-Theatre Menu for $45 per person, during certain days/times, and by reservation only.

Felidia
243 E. 58th Street
New York, NY10022
212.758.1479
http://www.felidia-nyc.com/

—–

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!


40 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Kuba Soup at Mimi’s Hummus: Good and Filling But Not the Highlight

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  Make the tasty kubbeh smaller and then let it float in the broth, or serve the kubbeh sans broth?  Or would that be blasphemy?

From the name, Mimi’s Hummus would seem to only serve hummus.  But, while the menu does feature a variety of hummus (definitely some creamy goodness), it features a few other items that will rock your world.

I went there for brunch one weekend afternoon with JM, hoping that they’d serve the Kuba Soup ($11), but I was out of luck…sorta.  I didn’t get the soup, but I got a really freakin’ spectacular brunch.

The next night, JM and I went back for dinner since I was told they served the soup at dinner only.  The waitress informed me that the soup was good enough as an entree, and she sure as heck wasn’t lying.  Kuba (or Kubbeh) are meat dumplings which are apparently a specialty of Jews from Kurdistan.  They’re filled with ground beef, spices and usually pine nuts (although I’m not sure Mimi’s Hummus used the nuts).

Kuba Soup at Mimi's Hummus

In a shallow bowl, Mimi served three very hefty and dense dumplings within a light, slightly sweet and vinegary beet broth.  They were surrounded by chunks of beets that were, thankfully, not too soft or mushy.

The Meat

The kubbeh reminded me of ground beef empanadas or Jamaican beef patties, but better.  I had two thoughts while chowing down:  1)  I wish they brought it out steaming hot, as opposed to lukewarm, and 2)  I’m not sure if I would really call this a soup since the dumplings were like boulders that stood atop a thin layer of broth.

I probably wouldn’t go back for the kubbeh alone, but I’d definitely buy a frozen bag of them if they sold it.  If I manage to get back there, it would be for the brunch dishes, fresh whole wheat pita, hummus and general atmosphere.

Mimi’s Hummus
1209 Cortelyou Road
Brooklyn, NY 11218
718.284.4444
http://www.mimishummus.com/

—–

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!


38 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Alfanoose’s Red Lentil Soup: As Flimsy As Its “Dinnerware”

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  Someone who really knows lentil soups please tell me why this was deemed top notch.

The Red Lentil Soup ($3.50) at Alfanoose looked unappealing sitting in a flimsy white plastic bowl, and I had hoped it wasn’t a sign of what was to come.  Unfortunately, it was.  I went from one extreme at Dovetail to another at this super casual, nearly buffet-style Middle Eastern restaurant.  The website is a bit deceiving, making it look like you were going to be in somewhat of a fine-dining atmosphere (Exhibit A – http://www.alfanoose.com/).

But I wasn’t going to judge a soup by its presentation, so I dug in with the flimsy white plastic spoon.  Had I loved the soup, I would’ve been pissed about the cheap utensil.  I could barely get a drop onto it, which made it even less enjoyable to eat.  Luckily for me, I didn’t care for the much-too-lemony flavor.

Alfanoose's Red Lentil Soup

To overcome the plainness and mouth-puckering effect, eating it with all the extras (rice-and-lentil mojadara + fried onion + hot sauce), which is supposedly how the chef/owner eats it, may have done some good…only with a proper spoon, though.  Too bad I was never asked if I wanted any of those extras.

EW’s brown version was just slightly better, in my opinion (this is

Alfanoose's Brown Lentil Soup

opposite of what NY mag declared).  Could’ve been the cilantro that did it for me, but it was still not something I would ever order again.

Honestly, I don’t know what the magazine was thinking…

Alfanoose
8 Maiden Lane (btwn Broadway and Nassau)
New York, NY 10038
212.528.4669
http://www.alfanoose.com/

—–

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

—–

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!


30 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Cafe Glechik’s Chicken Soup with Mini Pelmini: Sorta Close to Home

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  Worth taking a trip for a full meal but not just for the soup.

A couple weekends ago, while JM was here, I decided we should go to Brighton Beach – one of the largest Russian communities in the U.S. – to get a double dose of soup.  Cafe Glechik and Cafe Kashkar were just a few blocks from each other, so the smartest thing to do was to stuff our faces at both places during this one trip.  Brighton Beach is just not a weekend destination, unless it’s beach season.

I happened to be watching an Anthony Bourdain:  No Reservations‘ episode on China while writing this and Tony, as I like to call him, declared:  “There’s nowhere in the world [China’s] influence hasn’t spread.  Even if you haven’t had Chinese food, you’ve had Chinese food.”  I definitely felt a Chinese presence in each cafe’s kitchen that day.

And, with that, I’ll start with Cafe Glechik, a Russian-Ukrainian restaurant that had apparently been featured in the NYC episode of No Reservations a while ago.  Watching this episode confirmed something else for me – when you get bad service, it’s not you.  It’s the Russian I-don’t-really-care-about-you attitude.  Just a little something to expect before going there.  In any case…

That’s posted on the resto’s website, and they do serve a lot of things in the crocks that I associate with French Onion soup.

Cafe Glechik's Chicken Soup with Mini Pelmini

But our Chicken Soup with Mini Pelmini ($6) was served in a homey white bowl.  Not sure if it would’ve been served in a crock if we didn’t share one order.  What was clear was that one order for one person would’ve been more than enough as a meal.

The broth was clear, light and a little sour, and the generous amount of fresh dill kept it from being completely boring.

Mini Pelmini

The mini pelmini were at first overshadowed by the gigantic spoon, but soon took the center of attention as each firm but chewy bite burst with flavor…just like a good piece of Bubblicious Burst gum.  They tasted like home, and I was immediately transported to my family’s kitchen, where my mom, my grandmother and I would sit and make Chinese dumplings (jao zi) – the seemingly king-size versions of their Russian-Ukrainian counterpart.

But, as much as Cafe Glechik’s mini pelmini took me home, just as I wouldn’t go home just for my mom’s dumplings, I wouldn’t make a special trip just for the restaurant’s soup.  I might, however, do it if I’m craving a really good full Russian meal.

Cafe Glechik
3159 Coney Island Ave
(at Brighton Beach Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 616-0766

—–

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!


24 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Trick or Borscht at Veselka?

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  I’ll get my treats elsewhere.

Yep, I’m way behind on souping and writing.  For my handful of dedicated readers, I apologize dearly.  Life has presented me with some obstacles the past couple of months, so I, sadly, have been eating and writing less and stressing more.  Will try to keep the next three posts short in order to catch up, but you can probably tell that being short is a bit hard for me.

What would you choose?

Back on October 13th, MS and I went to Veselka since she had always wanted to go there.  The restaurant tried t

o be playful with a Halloween theme, and “Trick or Borscht” decorated their back wall.  Borscht, please!  I was specifically there to try it, after all.

Veselka's Ukrainian Borscht

The two of us opted for a cup of the Ukrainian Borscht ($3.50; bowl $4.75) since we’ve both never had it before and weren’t sure if we’d like it.  I had googled borscht beforehand to see what it actually was, and I knew that beets were usually the main ingredient.  But, somehow, I still wasn’t prepared for a cup of deep fluorescent pink liquid.  I felt like I was drinking a pink highlighter that was left to boil in some hot water.  “You eat with your eyes first” has never been so true, and I had wee bit of a tough time getting past the color.  (It does make for a nice photo though, huh?)

I also didn’t expect the vinegary sourness.  Clearly I didn’t read enough when I googled.  But once I ignored the pinkness, I could somewhat enjoy the sourness, beets, onions, tender beef, cabbage and big lima beans that made the soup.  It wasn’t horribly bad by any means, but the coloring unfortunately turned me off for some odd reason.  Weird texture and appearance don’t usually affect me.

So, after having tried my first borscht, if I had to do it all over again, I would say, “TRICK, please!”  And that’s too bad because I’ve got more borschts on the list to try.  But as they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  I’m willing to do that for soup.

—–

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!