Airing of Grievances: You Only Write About Asian Soups!

After I proclaimed Aura Thai’s duck soup one of the best in Midtown last week, Lunch’er MikeNYC pointed something out in the comments that is hard for me to deny:

It’s strange: If one were to go by this site alone, one would think soup is pretty much an asian food. Try clicking on that food type “soup” link above. The resulting stories skew about 80% or more to asian soups. (I made up that ratio, but it’s a high number) That is not even close to the asian/non-asian ratio of soup sales or consumption, based solely on casual observation in places I go. Which is my long winded way of bitching about the lack of non-asian soup coverage on ML. BTW, anyone got a good chicken pot pie soup near rock center? Bistro does a good one, but not every day. Also, burning question: Pot pie soup – bits o’crust, or no? Maybe I should take it to the forum….

You are so right.  I’m completely prejudiced again non-Asian soups, and it’s not right.  Although, in my defense, a bowl of ramen or udon seems more like a full meal than anything you could get from Hale & Hearty.  Chicken pot pie soup does sound good…  so, I’ll do it!  My next 5 soup posts will be non Asian.  Got any suggestions for me?

Lunch’er Grace Reports: The Ultimate Midtown Soup List


  • thats because asian soups are the best, and you know it! noodles, veggies, meats, sauces, spices, herbs….duh!

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    Ummm… Cafe Edison?

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    Could it be because asian soups are superior as meals-in-themselves, and are usually much more appropriate as a “midtown lunch”? Western soups are almost always served in a little cup as an appetizer, and when not (eg Hale and Hearty) WAY overpriced.

  • Borscht could go either way since Russia is in Asia, but it’s also a Ukranian/Polish thing.

  • spenczar, my thoughts exactly.

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    I wouldnt mind finding a nice French Onion soup… obviously thats a sit down in the restaurant lunch as i dont see it being a good take out order.

  • The problem is, most non-asian soups are either from Hale and Hearty/ Devon and Blakely type shops or generic deli soups.

    Besides the Hot Soup vendors, the two places I go for non-asian soup is either Sarges for the Souper Soup (a big ass chicken soup with matzo balls, noodles and kreplach) or to the take out counter at Grand Central Oyster bar for the Maryland She-crab soup (i’m not a clam chowder guy). Both are hearty enough for a meal.

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    It’s true, I have realized soup is usually not a full meal. For me soup is usually part of a “soup and something else” meal.

    Bistro on 51st is in my bldg. It isn’t cheap, but it has a pretty good ‘small soup/half sandwich’ deal that is under ten bucks. A small chicken and beef chili and a half chicken salad wrap is a pretty good lunch for me. Their pot pie, chicken gumbo, chili and beef barley soups are all good.

    Not since the soup nazi has soup been a whole meal for me. I’d love to find a hearty beef stew or chicken gumbo type soup that could qualify as a meal for a big guy and still be a ML.

    I’m thinking it might be tough to find five non-asian, ML-qualifying meal-soups, Zach. Don’t kill yourself over one comment from a grumpy fat guy!

  • I would love to find a good gumbo, borscht or more latin soups like menudo, pozole, albondiga…

  • Oxtail…with cracked bone marrow….so you can suck out all the buttery goodness.(ooo’errr)

  • @ESNY – oh my goodness, now I desperately want the souper soup. That sounds awesome.

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    Zach, try out the pumpkin corn bisque at Dishes – sure, all their stuff is expensive, but that soup is well worth it.

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    i like bistro too. agreed with their chili but i also like their chicken tortilla soup a lot, although its inconsistent (sometimes too thick, sometimes waaaay too spicy. they also have chicken fajita soup which is pretty much the same thing as chicken tortilla but with green tomatillo i think, but they don’t have that often. i usually just get a small size, no sandwich or anything, b/c that and the bread they give fills me up

  • I’m going to second Grand Central Oyster Bar. I think the N.E. clam chowder there is solid (and I’m from New England). If you sit down and load up on free bread & crackers, it’s filling enough for a “lite” Midtown Lunch.

  • find the best borscht, please. extra kudos if you can find a version with authentic smetana and not sour cream.

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    Macaron on 36th east of 7th has a takeout French Onion soup that’s quite good, though it is pretty light – mostly broth and the cheesy croutons on top, while delicious, are more crouton than cheese.

    On the chain side, tend to like Pret a Manger’s soups and they are priced better than H&H.

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    Someone mentioned Devon and Blakely as having good chicken pot pie soup – maybe so but not at the one on 52d at 5th. I walked by today at lunch and it appears it’s closed. There’s a big white covering over the escalator down where it is (was?) and no sign.

  • I hate to say it, but the next soup you should try is Asian. The “Braised Beef Noodle Soup” at Pearls on 7th (between 47 and 48???) next to Teriyaki Boy is amazing. Get it on the spicy side. Most times the meat is tender, the soup is tasty, and it’s a great experience. Sometimes the meat is less tender, but that’s not the norm.

  • i’ll third the Bistro soups. if they have the italian wedding soup i tend to pick that over the others.

    what about the soups from Au Bon Pain?

  • How about Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup in a can?

    Best stuff in New Yawk City!!! Let’s be ‘Fair and Balanced’ when it comes to eatin’ soup in the BA.

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