Kick Off Soup Season at Taam Tov
Fall is here, everyone. Bring on the sweaters! Bring on the football! Bring on the pumpkins… and pumpkin spiced beverages of all kinds! Bring on a three-month excuse to get fatter with Halloween candy, multiple Thanksgiving dinners, and holiday parties with latkes, cookies, and endless booze. AND, bring on the SOUP! Yep, it’s time for ramen, chili, stew and all variations of soup to tap you on the shoulder and say, “Did you miss me?”
Why yes, soup. Yes I did. And while I’m sure ramen will be on the top of many lunchers’ lists to revisit, I wanted to send a quick shout out to the easily missed Taam Tov for their soup selection. If you’re not a Midtown Lunch veteran, you might not yet know that Zach hit up this Kosher Uzbeki restaurant (47th btw. 5th + 6th) in one of his earliest reviews back in 2006, and nearly six years later, it’s still attracting customers in it’s somewhat hidden third floor locale.
Ascending dingy stairwells into an Uzbeki restaurant in the Diamond District is an experience enough in itself, and just for that I recommend trying it. Happily, there is an interesting selection of (mostly) beef-and-vegetable-based soups on the menu ranging between $4.50 and $6.00 to make the adventure even more fun.
Here’s the soup lineup, taken directly from the menu:
Vegetable Soup (no description provided)
Borsch: Eastern European soup with meat, beefs, cabbage, and fresh herbs.
Shurpa: Uzbek beef and vegetables soup with delicious vegetables
Lagman: Spicy beef and vegetables soup with homemade linguine
Kharcho: Georgian beef soup with rice and highly spiced boullion
Pelmeny: Beef ravioli with boullion
As much as the delicious vegetables the Shurpa were tempting… I went with the $4.50 Kharcho, mainly because of the words “highly spiced”. I also ordered a samsa at $3.00, keeping the lunch under $10 including tax and tip. If you’re interested in learning more about the cuisine of Uzbekistan, Orexca.com gives a close(ish) match to Taam Tov’s menu.
The Kharcho was delicious. Think vegetable beef soup on steroids: a larger portion, bigger chunks of beef, and a richer flavor. Besides the beef, rice, celery, peppers, carrots, and (I think?) parsley gave the Kharcho texture. The soup was well-seasoned, with plenty of saltiness, but for spice lovers, the phrase “highly spiced” has nothing to do with chili peppers.
The samsa, which brings to mind an Indian samosa, wasn’t bad either. Beef and onions filled the thin crust, which was dense without being overly greasy. The sesame seeds on top of the samsa added a nice touch. I personally would have preferred it to be hotter — I would’t say it was room temperature, but it certainly wasn’t fresh-out-of-the-oven.
Overall, this meal was incredibly rich and satisfying. But I should warn you that the menu you see above is just a small piece — most of the options are over the ML $10 limit. However, soups and salads are reasonable, and portions are good. At many restaurants, the soup is in a small cup. Not so with Taam Tov. The portion is large and the meat and vegetables are plentiful. The thumb placement on this menu wasn’t intentional there, so here is the link to the full menu (delivery is available) at ordertaamtov.com. The Lagman and Pelmene are $6.00 rather than $4.50 here.
Have you tried Taam Tov? What’s your favorite soup there? If you’re familiar with Uzbeki cuisine, how does this compare to some of the restaurants in Forest Hills?
Taam Tov, 41 W. 47th St., 3rd Floor (btw. 5+6th), 212-768-8001