Last week, I ended up over by Rockefeller Center (a mistake I won’t be intentionally replicating again this holiday season) with my family, unsure where to go for an early dinner. We contemplated heading to Bryant Park Grill, but realized we’d hit them instead during their pre-dinner window where they’re closed. Thankfully a friend recommended La Bonne Soupe. After a peek at the menu, I decided it was perfect.
I can’t say if reservations are usually a requirement since we came so early. We didn’t have a reservation though and were seated immediately. There were several things which jumped out at me. There was their savory crepe section – each priced at $13.95 and paired with a salad. The options ranged from La Forestière (ham, mushrooms, béchamel, and Swiss cheese) to La Canadienne (smoked salmon, cream cheese and scallions). Then there were sandwiches. The croque monsieur (white bread toasted with ham, cheese and béchamel sauce, served with salad) and the Quiche Lorraine sounded enticing.
In the end though, I chose to goded up going traditional. For only $18.25, you can get their soup special, which includes your choice of their soups, bread, salad, dessert and choice of drink (soda, coffee, tea, house wine, or house beer). I’m not usually impressed by a generic house salad – usually the mix of greens is nothing special and the dressing even less appealing. Le Bonne Soupe impressed me here. It wasn’t iceberg lettuce – instead,
For your soup choice, there are five options, with two being daily selections. Their staple offerings include Soupe Paysanne à l’Orge (mushroom and barley soup with lamb), Crème Andalouse (a tomato based cream of vegetable), and Soupe à l’Oignon (French onion soup topped with melted cheese). I couldn’t resist the French onion soup. It arrived in a decent-sized ceramic bowl, with the gruyere cheese melted to the perfect degree of crispiness (golden bordering on brown, but not quite there). The onions were smoky and caramelized – true to the standard preparation, yet slightly improved for the better.
My mom and sister had their cheese fondue, touted to be for one but more than enough for two. There was enough that I was able to snag a bite. The cheese was simple yet just right – no fancy preparation, just very good cheese. The only comment I’d have is it is only served with bread and for an extra charge, you can add apples. Next time, I’d bring some veggies of my own. I’d recommend they add this to the menu – first time I haven’t seen it as an option.
There were two choices for the prix fixe special I ordered – either crème caramel or mousse au chocolat – or you could pay a bit additional and choose another option from the dessert menu. I went with the mousse au chocolate, which was capped with a tuft of whipped cream. The mousse itself was very light, with a whipped texture. It was a nice change from the more dense mousse varieties. It wasn’t overly sweet either – a perfect end to the dinner. I couldn’t help but wonder how I hadn’t ended up here before.
La Bonne Soupe – 48 West 55th Street (between 5/6 Avenues) – 212.586.7650