Just like how I ended up at Pam Real Thai, I ended up at La Bonne Soupe because 1) I was headed to a concert at Terminal 5 and needed somewhere to eat beforehand within walking distance and 2) I was determined to get through Buzzfeed’s Must Eat this Winter list. Kind of funny how BuzzFeed saved me once again when I was trying to find a good restaurant as close as possible to that ever-so-far-away concert venue. It should go without saying though, that this was completely different from that first dinner and concert experience.
La Bonne Soupe feels, or should I say is, wonderfully French. You may think that that’s a given based on the name, but I know of quite a few places out there with French names that are actually just grab and go restaurants or run-of-the-mill cafes. When a friend and I walked into La Bonne Soupe, a very friendly host greeted us and said we could sit anywhere we liked. To my delight, he was actually French. The first floor has a bar and some seating (and also some great tile floor), while the second floor has an additional seating area along with a balcony/patio (and some cool paintings and vintage movie posters). What really topped off the French vibe was how close all the seating was to each other and that there was quite a bit of wait time when getting the waiter to take our orders, getting our food, and getting the check. Really though, slow service is not always a bad thing. It’s great when you don’t feel rushed or pushed out of a restaurant and you actually have time to enjoy your food and company. It just wasn’t the best when you had a St. Vincent concert to get to.
But on to the food! You get a basket of bread and butter when you sit down, and I believe that they’ll keep refilling it as many times as you want. My friend and I knew that we were definitely going to get the fondue but couldn’t decide what else to get along with that to make a meal. I eventually settled on La campagnarde crepe (mushrooms, onions, and bechamel sauce), which also came with a salad. I figured that that should be enough for a meal.
Well, I didn’t realize how huge the crepes were going to be, so yeah, no more worries here about getting enough food. I really should’ve gotten the French onion soup, because it’s supposed to be the best in the city and wouldn’t have made me so stuffed, but in the end, it didn’t really because I loved the crepe, especially the bechamel sauce. And surprisingly, I devoured all of the salad rather than all of the crepe, because the house vinaigrette they used was amazing. Seriously! I don’t know what was in it, but it was an excellent, light dressing.
So why didn’t I devour both the salad AND the crepe? Well, when we ordered the fondue, the waiter asked if we wanted our crepes to come out first to which we said we would prefer the fondue first. He then told us that it was going to take like 25 minutes to prepare the fondue, at which point we said okay nevermind. Once again, our bad for coming here when we were in a hurry, because it’s never a bad thing when something is being made fresh for you. So long story short, I had to stop myself from eating the whole crepe because I knew we had a big pot of melted cheese and a basket of bread coming our way. Tricky stuff man.
While the fondue automatically comes with bread, you can also add apples, which we did since it was my friend’s first time having cheese fondue and he was intrigued by the combination. The cheese was super bubbly and hot, and needless to say, we loved it. How could you not love a big pot of cheese? Unfortunately, at that point, we were so full there was no way we were going to be able to finish it. I recommend splitting it between more than 2 people unless it’s going to be your table’s main meal.
My final verdict is that this place is a delightful little spot when you have plenty of time to wind down and want to feel transported out of Manhattan. Yes, just let that melty gooey cheese take you away.
La campagnarde crepe, cheese fondue
48 W 55th St
New York, NY 10019