Chicken Soup With Farro and Dumplings
The inspiration for this soothing bowl comes not from the teachings Marco Canora learned at the knee of his nonna, but rather an admitted childhood obsession with Progresso Chickarina soup. The copper-colored broth achieves its remarkable depth of flavor from a fastidious simmering of beef and turkey as well as chicken. And those so-called dumplings? Tender, gnocchi-size chicken meatballs by another name ($10; 403 E. 12th St., at First Ave.; 646-602-1300).
Hot and Sour Soup With Dumplings
Yun Nan Flavour Snack Shop
Everything at this storefront soup shack specializing in the silky rice noodles of China’s southwesternest province, Yunnan, is absolutely delicious. But it’s #27, the invigorating Dumplings with Hot and Sour Sauce, that could clear a sinus at 60 paces ($4.25; 775A 49th St., nr. Eighth Ave., Sunset Park; 718-633-3090).
Singapore kari Laksa
“No one makes this soup like us, it’s an exclusive,” says co-owner Helen Thong. This one also happens to be a favorite of her husband, the chef. And while they won’t reveal any secrets, the appeal is apparent from the first bite: the creaminess of the coconut, the heat of the chile, the explosion of unidentifiable but somehow harmonious spices. And then, of course, there are the thick rice noodles, buried under a cache of chicken, shrimp, fish cake, tofu skin, and egg ($5.75; 82-18 45th Ave., Elmhurst; 718-898-8001).
With a venison version on offer at Wallsé and a pork rendition at Blaue Gans, Kurt Gutenbrunner is New York’s goulash king. To make his goulash soup at Cafe Sabarsky, though, he swaps in beef shin and thins down his mouthwatering paprika-seasoned sauce ($13; 1048 Fifth Ave., at 86th St.; 212-288-0665).
The national soup of Vietnam isn’t hard to come by in Chinatown, but this one stands out for its rich, mellow flavor and beautiful balance. The #1 combination rice-noodle beef soup is heavy on the pinkish eye of round and light on the brisket, with just a sliver of tendon and whisper of omosa, or cow stomach, which, for some, is plenty ($5.50; 157 Mott St., nr. Grand St.; 212-966-3797).
Onion and Bone Marrow Soup
The Breslin Bar & Dining Room
Realizing, perhaps, that a good part of a French onion soup’s appeal lies in the crouton, April Bloomfield, in crazy-genius mode, has tinkered with the toast. Instead of gobbing it with cheese and placing it under the broiler, she fries the bread in what essentially is—and cardiac patients can stop reading now—a whipped bone-marrow butter ($10; 20 W. 29th St., nr. Broadway; 212-679-2222).
There are all kinds of borscht. Thin borscht. Thick borscht. Cold borscht. Even beetless borscht. And then there is Veselka’s borscht, the borschtiest borscht of them all, made with beef stock and pork butt, and designed to lift your spirits even at 3 a.m. ($4.50; 144 Second Ave., at 9th St.; 212-228-9682).
Avgolemono might be the most well-known Greek soup, but it’s not the only one. This rarity, made with semolina pasta, is cooked in tomato-based vegetable broth, then garnished with shredded kasseri, a stringy sheep’s-milk cheese that adds body and chew ($4.50; 19-06 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria; 718-545-4554).
Matzo Ball Soup
New York’s best new matzo-ball soup is found at Daniel Boulud’s DBGB, and if you don’t believe us, just ask the man himself. Pre-opening, chef Jim Leiken was trying out all the dishes on the picky Frenchman with little success. “Then I made some matzo-ball soup, and he declared it ‘a perfect 10,’?” says Leiken. What makes it so good? A double-stock broth, schmaltz in the matzo balls, and a judicious, upscale drizzle of parsley oil ($8; 299 Bowery, nr. Houston St.; 212-933-5300).
There are two lentil soups on the menu at this Syrian-Lebanese spot, and it’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite. The cilantro-and-lemon-spiked brown version is delectable, but it’s narrowly outshone by its red brethren, a sturdy and soothing cumin-flavored purée. Order it the way chef-owner Mouhamad Shami eats his: with a scoop of rice-and-lentil mojadara, garnished with strands of fried onion, and drizzled with Shami’s housemade hot sauce ($3.50; 8 Maiden Ln., nr. Broadway; 212-528-4669).
Momofuku Noodle Bar
The dish that launched an empire and sparked a noodle-bar craze. Authentic? Who cares? It’s much more fun to focus on the succulence of the pork shoulder and belly, the oozing egg yolk, and the unctuous, bacon- enriched broth ($16; 171 First Ave., nr. 11th St.; 212-777-7773).
Although pickle soup sounds like the title of a whimsical children’s book, it’s a popular standard among Polish Greenpoint’s soup aficionados, and rightly so. Two bucks buys a hefty bowlful at this friendly social center, where the soup’s rich pork-and-cream base is offset by pickled cucumbers shredded as thin as Goodfellas’ garlic ($2; 177 Kent St., nr. McGuinness Blvd., Greenpoint; 718-349-1033).