Tuesday, November 25, 2008
For the past few days, two of the most e-mailed articles on the New York Times Web site have been about sex and soup. Sure, this could just be our way of reverting back to the simpler things in life, given the economy – but I like to think it’s something else. Sex has always received its due reward in our society – but soup – not so much.
Think about it. Soup has powers of permutation unlike any other food shy of potatoes or tomatoes. You can eat it cold, hot, from a shot glass or a colossal bowl, thick and chunky or pureed, diluted or buttery and lush. And what other food grants you permission to recklessly combine potatoes, cheese and bacon? Enough said.
As a Queens native and now Brooklyn resident, I have had many, many good soups in my new borough..not so many in my original borough. But I’m determined to change that. Without further ado, here is my first attempt at trying every great soup in Queens. I welcome any and all suggestions or comments.
Tuesday, Nov. 25
Donovan’s of Bayside
214-16 41st Ave.
Brian, my foodie co-worker, has been raving about Donovan’s Split Pea Soup. It was my first trip to the popular restaurant and bar and, based solely on the décor (which resembles the townhouse Great Room of my pretentious dreams), I fell instantly in love. I had high hopes, but since it was raining, windy and downright glacial, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to find that Donovan’s did the sensible thing and replaced its fragile Split Pea with a hearty, reliable and –sorry – humdrum Lentil Soup option.
The good news: Everyone is spot on about the fresh food at Donovan’s. The lentils were cooked very well and had a creamy, slightly crisp texture. Generous chunks of firm, sweet carrots were a delightful compliment.
The not-so-good news: Eh. I couldn’t put my finger on what my soup was lacking. I knew it wasn’t something major, but it was something. Then, I committed a dining sin and sprinkled just a dash of salt and pepper into my soup – which, sadly, made a big difference.
Overall verdict: I will definitely return to Donovan’s and try other soups. As for the Lentil – it needed red pepper, salt, pepper, celery, cumin, coriander – something – added to the mix to help animate its fresh flavors.