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Monday, June 13, 2011

The Original SoupMan in Fisherman's Wharf Doesn't Deliver the Terror

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 11:18 AM

The Original SoupMan's minestrone. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • The Original SoupMan's minestrone.

"NO SOUP FOR YOU!" proclaim the T-shirts on sale at the new Original SoupMan on the Wharf. A sign outside the door lists founder Al Yeganeh's rules for ordering, and those who are lucky enough to make it through the line alive can purchase a "SOUP FOR YOU" mug to eat theirs in.

Yes, it's the franchise based on the man Jerry Seinfeld famously parodied as the "Soup Nazi," a phrase you will find nowhere in the chain's marketing materials. Last week, SFoodie girded our loins, stood outside the door memorizing the rules, then followed a pair of German tourists through the door.

Did this happen? Or this? No.

"Would you like a sample of something?" the blond teenager behind the counter asked us,

then picked the lid off an electric pot of crab bisque to ladle some

into a tiny cup. She placidly waited while the Germans ahead of us dawdled for a

full five minutes, first debating which soup to order and then whether

to eat in back or take their soup to go. We would have NO SOUP FOR YOU'd

them 60 seconds in.

There was crab meat

aplenty in the bisque, but we could barely taste it through the salty

gloop, so we picked up a $5 cup of minestrone, which tasted a lot like a

can of Prego dumped into a can of veggie noodle soup. All are

apparently modeled after Yeganeh's 1984 recipes, soups the New Yorker

called "art." (It says so on the cup.) Either 1984 was a long time ago,

or something was lost as the recipes were scaled up. But, hey, what do you expect at

the Wharf?

If SFoodie wants to be terrified by a rule-crazy

cook, we'll just go to M&L Market in the Castro. We've been eating M&L's pastrami

sandwiches for a couple of decades, and Judy still intimidates us. Remember: Bread first!

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman


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