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La Bonne Soupe

Perhaps my last night of carbohydrate freedom shouldn't have been devoted to French food and loads of cheese, but a fondue craving's a craving.

I'd always meant to make it to Rotelle A.G., but it went out of business before I had the chance. Artisanal is nice, but I wanted something more downscale. La Bonne Soupe is a slice of '70s, midtown New York that I never experience. It's sort of shabby (not shabby chic) in a red checked table cloth, woody, rustic chalet way, and on a random street I swear I've never walked down in my 4.5 years living here.

It was the 25th hour in there. You'd think I'd be gorging myself on dumplings, cake, pasta, pork buns, fried rice and the like, but no, I went for the Atkin's friendly pot of cheese and pate plate. Oh well. If I had a time machine I might rectify the situation. (1/5/03)

See my Time Out NY Eating & Drinking Guide review

Yikes, despite the cramped, harried, faded nature of this narrow Gallic holdout, I'd enjoyed my previous three meals there. It's the go to place for no frills fondue, an anti-Artisanal. But my recent visit was just a mess. I had decided to check out the MoMA store because they were having a 20% off day for members and corporate affiliates. I have some deal through work, as well as half the city, apparently. I didnt end up buying anything since the only thing I kind of wanted were these acrylic rings and I didnt know my size and didnt want to wait in the snaking line for a $10 purchase. I figured fondue two blocks north would be a nice treat since the sale was sort of a bust.

But its tricky because is fondue a meal? Is it an appetizer? I felt like we should order something not terribly huge for each of us in addition to the pot of melted cheese. James got one of those chopped hamburgers and I opted for a charcuterie plate with salad. But I got my food instantly and then that was it. I was trying to pick at my food until Jamess arrived. It never did. We finally flagged down our waiter (who was getting it from all sides because either no one was getting their food, getting their orders taken, getting their water glasses filled or were missing items are given the wrong dishes) and asked where the rest of our meal was, and apparently, hed been waiting for me to finish. So, I guess that answered my question–charcuterie is considered appetizer and fondue and hamburger is entrée.

Now James had food and I was finished and trying not to hog all the fondue while he attempted eating two things at once. And the fondue was grainy like it had been sitting around cooling to room temperature, separating. The whole thing raised my blood pressure and lowered my appetite. I havent tried Mont Blanc yet, maybe Ill head there for my next fondue fix. Or not…$39 for fondue? Artisanal is only $24. Unfortunately, La Bonne Soupes is still the cheapest at $17, but I'm not sure thats necessarily a bargain. (11/3/05)

La Bonne Soupe * 48 W. 55th St., New York, NY

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