With temps falling, I've had soup on the brain lately. I recently headed over to Vietnam Restaurant (605 W. 19th Street) for some wonton soup. You'd be hard-pressed to find better in the city. The beauty is in the simplistic approach the good people at Vietnam take to soup preparation.
The salty broth is laced with cilantro and slivers of tender pork. I'm a firm believer that you can never have enough cilantro (my favorite of all herbs), and the cooks at Vietnam must agree with this notion.
The wontons are plentiful and, well, different. Most versions of wonton soup have a plain, flavorless broth, accompanied by dense, almost meatless wontons. But here, light, delicate wrappers surround a plentiful portion of a succulent combination of ground pork and one decent chunk of shrimp. On my last visit, I paid close attention, and not one of my 'tons lacked the shrimp chunk. There's that attention to detail.
Although small, the many wontons in the soup were delicious, and within ten minutes--gone. I polished off a medium-sized bowl and an iced tea and was happy.
Vietnam has four other soups (West Lake Beef, asparagus crabmeat, hot and sour, and egg drop) that come in four sizes, ranging from a cup to large bowl. I've gone with a large bowl before, but I generally feel a medium is just right. And the $4.50 price isn't too bad either.
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The atmosphere and service at Vietnam have always been excellent, and on this day, it was no different. My soup was on the table in five minutes, I was out in 20, and paid under $10. I was left content and already thinking about a return visit.