Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New York City – La Bonne Soupe to the Rescue

It is pouring rain and the US Open matches have been cancelled for the evening.  Drat!  I have ventured out two times this morning and have gotten completely soaked each time – especially my shoes.  I now understand why my daughter insists that rain boots are such a necessity here.  My third time out I don’t want to venture too far but it’s past lunchtime and I’m famished.  Fortunately our hotel is almost around the corner from our old standby - La Bonne Soupe at 48 W. 55th.  The waiter who seats me does not look askance at my wet shoes and dripping clothes, sweet man.  We have been coming to this restaurant for the last 25 years and the menu has stayed pretty much the same.   The restaurant did undergo a renovation in 2009 and I feel consequently has lost some of its worn wood, creaky stair, timeless charm but the bright new bistro look is I suppose a nice change.

We typically order the fondue and salad with a carafe of the house wine – an inexpensive, casual, fun dinner or lunch.  But what I think really keeps us coming back is the salad dressing.   We love this dressing!  20 years ago we asked the cook for the recipe and fortunately one of our party spoke Spanish as the chef couldn’t speak English (yes wacky...).  He proceeded to give us his recipe but it was for gallons of the dressing - 4 cups of Dijon mustard, 8 gallons of oil, etc. etc.  Well, we pared his recipe down and came up with something we could use (thank you Bill!).  This is basically a vinaigrette recipe but the special ingredient is a smidgen of chicken broth which gives the dressing a bit more body, flavor and creaminess.

A few years ago the restaurant came out with its own cookbook which I would not highly recommend especially since I will give you the ingredients for our version of this tasty salad dressing.

La Bonne Soupe Vinaigrette
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup good white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (not olive oil!)
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper


  1. The salad dressing sounds wonderful; it reminds me of the Silver Palate "our favorite vinaigrette," but I love the addition of a little chicken broth. Isn't it interesting how just a little addition can make such a difference... must go try it! Your article now has me thinking about fondue as well....

  2. I just wanted to thank you for posting this article. I've been going to this restaurant for the past 15 years, and it remains one of my very favorites in the city. I recently moved to California and asked my brother to ship me 8 bottles of their dressing, because it's that good. Now that I've run out, I'm so excited to make some of my own! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    By the way, I HIGHLY recommend their onion soup and filet mignon au poivre. Their apple dessert is also very tasty.

    1. Thank you for posting the recipe. I have been going there for over 20 years and like you, I love their salad dressing.

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  4. If this actually works I'll be forever in your debt.

  5. I’d like to see the original chef’s quantities if you don’t mind sharing.