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The Hot List


Café Kashkar
A Turkic ethnic group living in China, Uyghurs are Muslims whose food closely resembles the lamb and rice-heavy diet of Central Asian Jews—thus the kinship with the Uzbeki restaurants of Queens. Lagman is common ground, in the form of a bowl of herby lamb broth crammed with meat, vegetables, and supremely springy handmade noodles ($6; 1141 Brighton Beach Ave., nr. Brighton 15th St., Brighton Beach; 718-743-3832).

Alsatian Beer Soup
Bar Room at the Modern
The beer in question is a Belgian pilsner called Bavik, and the smooth, nutmeg-seasoned depths conceal delicate Nantucket Bay scallops and smoky nubbins of Benton’s Tennessee ham hock. Further refinements come in the form of a frothy sour-cream “cappuccino” dappling the surface; a stripe of powder made from crushed pain d’épices, or spice bread; and a couple thin slices of the stuff tucked inside a linen napkin ($16; 9 W. 53rd St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-333-1220).

Ginseng Chicken Soup
Another Arirang opened earlier this year in midtown, but if you’re craving samgyetang, the rice-stuffed chicken-and-ginseng soup, it’s worth a trek out to Flushing. The trio of floral-arm-gartered Golden Girls who run the low-key joint create an air of jolly bonhomie almost as comforting as the steaming iron pot of soup, which is infused with enough garlic to ward off the most pernicious flu strain ($17.95; 137-38 Northern Blvd., nr. Main St., Flushing; 718-661-5454).

* See also: The Absolute Best Chicken Soup in NYC

New England Clam Chowder
What do you get when you cross a French Laundry–trained chef like John Fraser with an old Yankee fish-shack staple? Manila clams rendered unrubbery. Applewood-smoked potatoes. And a black-pepper croissant in lieu of a pack of oyster crackers ($14; 103 W. 77th St., nr. Columbus Ave.; 212-362-3800).

Tortilleria Nixtamal
Housemade hominy is showcased in a clean-flavored, comforting pozole based on the Michoacán recipe of one of the tortilla factory’s Mexican cooks: a porky broth also populated by morsels of pernil and add-on garnishes like onion, radish, oregano, and lime. Tortillas play a part, too—fried into tostadas you can crumble on top ($5; 104-05 47th Ave., Corona; 718-699-2434).

Chicken Broth With Market Vegetabables, Dill, and Lime
Perry St
According to chef Cedric Vongerichten, this soup is all about texture: “the creaminess of the avocado, the crunch of the rye croutons, the bite of the radish.” Not to mention the bracing acidity of the lime, the vibrancy of the lemongrass and lime leaves, and the tingle of the chili peppers. Poured tableside, it’s a heady, almost hedonist broth—concentrated chicken flavor without a shred of actual meat ($12; 176 Perry St., at West St.; 212-352-1900).

Akamaru Modern Ramen
The noodles are housemade and the tonkotsu broth channels that milky, long-cooked pork-bone essence that defines this style. Purists go for the Shiromaru Classic, but we like this spicy upgrade served in a jaunty red bowl ($13; 65 Fourth Ave., nr. 9th St.; 212-388-0088).

Cappelletti in Brodo
Not your garden-variety dumplings, cappelletti are “little hats” filled with veal and Parmesan, floating in a capon broth so intense it might have been simmering for a month ($13.50; 141 E. 57th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-826-7101).

Busecca is a Milanese tripe-and-veggie soup, and what distinguishes this version is the addition of Greenmarket cranberry beans. What’s that you say? Fresh cranberry beans in December? Sort of. Like the squirrel in the fable, chef Steve Connaughton stocked up on the prized legumes, then shelled and froze enough to get him through the winter ($10; 637 Hudson St., at Horatio St.; 212-242-3093).

Vegetarian Borscht
B&H Dairy
Before there are no more kosher dairy restaurants left in New York, slip onto a counter stool at this timeworn relic for a bowl of vibrant vegetarian borscht, one of a daily-changing roster that are almost worth buying for the excellent housebaked challah alone ($4.50; 127 Second Ave., nr. St. Marks Pl.; 212-505-8065).

Seafood Flat Noodle
Grand Bo Ky
At the spiffy new location of the Chinatown fixture, the drill is the same: Pick your topping combo, pick your noodle shape, and make excessive use of the red and green house chile sauces. We recommend #5, Seafood Flat Noodle—a steaming bowl of wide rice noodles dense with shrimp, fishballs, and calamari ($5.25; 216 Grand St., nr. Elizabeth St.; 212-219-9228).

Sopa de Tortilla
Cascabel Taqueria
Two things distinguish this uptown tortilla soup: the pork broth (it’s typically chicken) and a whole fried pasilla perched on the rim. Crumble it into the soup like a pack of Saltines and spice to taste ($5; 1542 Second Ave., nr. 80th St.; 212-717-7800).

Chicken Soup With Mini-Pelmeni
Café Glechik
Soup is a specialty at this Russian-Ukrainian café, and so are dumplings. The chicken pelmeni are pretty much perfect, especially afloat in a bowl of dill-flecked chicken broth ($6; 3159 Coney Island Ave., nr. Brighton Beach Ave., Brighton Beach; 718-616-0494).

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