I grew up on my grandma's matzoh ball soup. An enduring memory of my childhood is watching football on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of winter with a giant bowl of matzoh ball soup on my lap.
When I moved to the city, one of the first things I sought out was matzoh ball soup that could rival my grandma's. It certainly wasn't to be found at Katz's-- their matzoh balls were way too dense-- basically sinking to the bottom of the bowl. At Sarge's Delicatessen on 3rd Avenue, I found a "souper soup" that recreates these memories where other matzoh ball soups had failed. For $6.95 you get a gigantic container of soup with noodles, a fluffy matzoh ball, and a fist-sized meat kreplach that tastes strongly of onions. The broth is rich and round, but I like to add a little togarashi for some heat and smokiness. Just the smell takes me back to numerous Sundays spent slurping soup, eating cold cuts and smelts, while watching the Bengals get blown out.
The souper soup is a meal in itself, but when I'm really feeling like a fat-ass I'll get a triple-decker pastrami and turkey rueben, or even the fabled Deli Wellington, made from pastrami and corn beef scraps.
Sarge's Deli, 548 Third Ave. (36th-37th Sts.)