Few foods are more comforting than a bowl of piping hot chicken soup. With its antibiotic properties and rejuvenating powers, chicken soup has been known to prevent the onset of seasonal illness while conjuring happy memories of Grandma’s home cooking. With a winter season that feels like it may just last forever, only a pot of this age-old cure-all can keep us going.
Every culture in our melting pot of a neighborhood has its own spin on the dish, and each is delicious in its own unique way. From the thick, meaty Dominican-style chicken soup, to the cumin-rich Mediterranean variety, we’ve rounded up five hearty bowls can hold their own as a meal, or be accompanied by a piece of crusty bread.
1. Chris’ Restaurant
1866 86th Street
Price: $2.50 per cup, $3.75 per bowl
This cozy Polish-American eatery has been around forever. Chris’ chicken noodle soup is a classic – similar to one you might find at an old-school deli: clear broth, daintily sliced carrots, chopped parsley, and short, understated noodles. A surprising feature in this bowl are whole peppercorns swimming around. The little black balls add just the right level of kick to a pretty, well-flavored broth. Plus, the homey decor, super-friendly service, and a fireplace flickering in the corner all make Chris’ Restaurant an ideal winter hideout.
Tip: For an extra quarter, this meal can be super-sized with a hefty matzo ball. They also offer a nice selection of Polish beers to wash it down.
2. Hand Pull Noodle & Dumping House
7201 18th Avenue
This ginormous bowl of Fujian-style soup could nuke the world’s worst hangover. Fresh scallions and florescent green bok choy (did you know bok choy is a super food?) add a giant dose of vitamins and nutrients to the meal. At the center of the clear broth are endlessly long, slimy noodles that will keep you full for days. The chicken version of this soup (not pictured) comes in two varieties, chicken wing, and sweet and sour.
There is no need to order appetizers – this soup is literally a feast in a bowl – but if you insist, the beef and scallion pancakes are delicious.
3. Quetzal Restaurant
6420 17th Avenue
An unexpected Dominican diner in Mapleton, Quetzal cooks up one of the neighborhood’s more rustic and robustly flavored chicken soups. Priced at only $3 a bowl, the chunky, orange broth – stirred with marrow-leaking chicken bones and coarsely chopped potatoes and carrots – is a full meal on its own.
If the noodles are the focal point at Hand Pull Noodle, the angel-hair pasta in this bowl are more like an afterthought. The soup is so lusciously thick, you can barely differentiate the noodle texture from the broth. The rich flavor is spot on: the slightly citrus-y pepper notes really hit the spot on a miserable, winter day.
2202 86th Street
Sweet red peppers, thick noodles, and large pieces of white meat distinguish this soup from all other chicken soups. A rich medley of distinctively Mediterranean spices also set this broth apart, making it a bit more pungent. Pair this bowl with Istanbul’s delicious (complimentary) crusty turkish bread and maybe a side of babaghonush ($5.50), and you’re good to go.
5. Diner Chicken Soup
We love our local diners, and each one has its own take on the ol’ cure-all. The list is so lengthy that we had to narrow it down to a few community favorites, but feel free to let us know if we missed any.