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Staff picks: Brooklyn’s best bowl of soup

December 27, 2019 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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It’s getting cold in Brooklyn and it’s not worth fighting it or complaining. Get into your puffiest jacket and embrace the winter. Let the summer and fall of cold brew give way to the bitter winter of soup.

Soup, man’s liquidest food, so important that there is an entire month dedicated to it. January: National Soup Month.

At the Brooklyn Eagle, the favorite soup spot may be Lassen and Hennings, just a few blocks from our DUMBO workspace. But we decided to push ourselves further from the office and each find a spot in the borough that keeps us warm during the winter months — even if it’s not yet National Soup month.

From cheesy, melting, French Onion Soup in Boerum Hill, to ramen or Matzo ball soup, here are the soups the Eagle staff chose. — Noah Goldberg

A Taste of Katz’s

Downtown Brooklyn, DeKalb Market Hall, 445 Albee Square West

Photo: Cambria Roth/Brooklyn Eagle

Some of the best matzo ball soup I ever had was after a day in the snow. I’ll never forget it. So imagine it’s a cold, windy day and you’re craving some hearty, yummy matzo ball soup to warm you up. You definitely don’t want to make the trek into Manhattan and deal with tourists at Katz’s Delicatessen, so why not hit up the next best thing? 

A Taste of Katz, located in DeKalb Market Hall, is as close as you’ll get — and they’ve got a pretty good bowl of soup for the matzo lovers out there. Katz’s website describes it as, “Light and fluffy though not overly stuffy,” and it’s true. The matzo balls are as big as baseballs, and the chicken stock isn’t bad either. This place is especially good if you’re looking for something both delicious and quick. I promise, you’ll get all the warm fuzzies. — Cambria Roth


Clinton Hill, 293 Grand Ave.

Photo: Noah Goldberg/Brooklyn Eagle

Took a big L this week. We’re not allowed to do the same place or the same soup type for this, so I had to do rock-paper-scissors with Scott Enman to see who got to do the French Onion Soup at Bar Tabac and he… won.

So I went to Mekelburgs near my apartment and got the Lentil Soup instead. Had some beer and a shot as well cause it was Monday. The best part of the soup is definitely the toast with whitefish that comes with it, which was incredible. The soup is solid — or liquid. But a solid liquid soup. Try the sandwiches if you want the true Mekelburg’s experience. — Noah Goldberg

Hazar Turkish Kebab

Bay Ridge, 7224 Fifth Ave.

The red lentil soup at Hazar Turkish Kebab. Photo: Paul Frangipane/Brooklyn Eagle

I’m not a big fan of soup, but as the temperatures outside plummet and the flu has its way with our immune systems, I find myself heading to Hazar Turkish Kebab in Bay Ridge for some red lentil soup, or Mercimek.

It’s not the most visually-striking bowl of soup but it tastes phenomenal and at $5.95, it’s an inexpensive and quick lunch option. The red lentils slowly simmered with Turkish seasonings give it just the right amount of spicy and earthy flavor. Squeeze a few drops of fresh lemon in and it elevates it with a cool freshness.

My favorite way to enjoy the simple dish is by ripping off a piece of still-warm flatbread and soaking it in the orange liquid. — Paul Frangipane


Downtown Brooklyn, Dekalb Market Hall, 445 Albee Square West

Photo: Meaghan McGoldrick/Brooklyn Eagle

A cup of chicken vegetable soup is often just what the doctor ordered — and it’s good for a rainy day at Dekalb Market Hall, too.

This Foragers staple — also available on most days at the market’s permanent outposts in DUMBO and Chelsea — tastes just like your mother used to make when you were home sick from school. Full of the market’s (similarly staple) roasted chicken, this soup is both hearty, heartwarming and I would guess pretty healthy. A small cup will run you just $6, and, if ordered at Dekalb Market, it can even wash the blues of an emotionally tolling matinee at Alamo Drafthouse away — as it did for me last weekend. — Meaghan McGoldrick

Bogota Latin Bistro

Park Slope, 141 Fifth Ave.

Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle

This soup tastes like nostalgia — or at least it does if you started your career as a foreign correspondent in Colombia. Oh, such days, in an Andean capital full of bloodshed and beauty, of guerrilla warfare and high culture. It was a long time ago. I was young.

One of the first things I learned in Bogota was this: Wherever you’re eating, order the ajiaco. It’s one of the city’s traditional dishes, a type of chicken soup that’s stuffed full of tiny potatoes and a chunk or two of corn on the cob. It’s flavored with a distinctive herb called guascas.

Ajiaco is served with capers and thick cream on the side, for you to add to the soup as you see fit. Often you get a plate of rice and sliced avocado too. Bogota Latin Bistro in Park Slope makes an excellent bowl of ajiaco for $14. Don’t fuss about the price. This is a full meal. — Lore Croghan

Mr. Taka Ramen

DUMBO, TimeOut Market, 55 Water St.

Photo: Mary Frost/Brooklyn Eagle

For a warm, delicious soup that’s a filling and generous meal, pop into the TimeOut Market at Empire Stores in DUMBO and order a bowl of tonkotsu ramen at Mr. Taka Ramen. This ramen starts with a silky pork broth (made by boiling pork bones for hours), flavored with black fried garlic oil. Arranged inside the bowl are thin noodles, scallions, crisp bean sprouts, kikurage mushrooms, tiny bits of shredded red ginger, sesame seeds and a primal chunk of pork belly — just enough fat to fuel you through the rest of your winter day, and maybe part of tomorrow. 

The dish costs $15, but I splurged $2 more for the soft boiled egg halves soaked in miso, which I recommend. You can order it spicy or not spicy. Owners Takatoshi and Takayuki opened their first ramen restaurant in Japan years ago, before coming to NYC. Now they’re bringing all kinds of yum to DUMBO. — Mary Frost

Bar Tabac

Cobble Hill, 128 Smith St.

Photo: Bar Tabac

Winter is coming, and there are few things more comforting in life then indulging in a warm bowl of French onion soup from Bar Tabac. This Cobble Hill bistro does it just right. The chefs cook it so the soft and crisp cheesy top spills down over the side of the crock. Once you move past the warm upper layer, enjoy an oh-so-delicious mixture of warm broth, soaked bread and, of course, onions. Order it as an appetizer or, better yet, make it your main course. You won’t regret it. — Scott Enman

Want to browse more of our staff picks? You can find the whole list here

Want even more choices? Here’s a list of both our picks and our readers’ picks

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