I Still Haven’t Found What I’ve Been Looking For: One Man's Search for Chicken Soup

October 7, 2013

X.W., 3L

For eaters, New Haven provides a sort of study in market failure. There are half a dozen Thai restaurants on Chapel Street; none of them are good. The Union League Café embodies the very worst parts of French cuisine: over-buttered, over-priced, over-crappified. The best Chinese restaurants are in Milford, a twenty-minute drive away. The food in the law school’s dining hall is so passé that the vast majority of students will walk outside and pay $6 to a man in a truck shucking pre-made arepas.

This is perhaps a very roundabout way of saying that you’re not coming to Yale for the food. You’re coming here (ostensibly) for the legal education, the epic all-night parties, and the opportunity to go several hundred thousand dollars into debt. But everyone’s got to eat, I suppose. And after three years of stumbling around, here are a few thoughts.

The Dining Hall is a good place to start, but you’ll probably want to look elsewhere, too (especially if you don’t want to pay $4 for 4 ounces of Greek yogurt). As Guido is wont to say, vote with your wallet – and let those votes carry you outside the confines of 127 Wall Street.

Spend those votes on things like the tilapia special at Skappo, which has never disappointed me. Or the Singaporean noodles at Basil. Perhaps the dim sum at Great Wall. The frites at Rudy’s. Maybe the burger at Contois Tavern. If I were on death row, I’d at least consider asking for the lobster-mashed potatoes at Briq. Try the firecracker sake (and only the firecracker sake) at Miya’s. Everything else at that establishment is wildly overrated and frankly just plain weird. I mean, had I wanted to buy sustainable seafood, I’d have gotten fish sticks.

I could go on, but I think there’s something else you can go to, and that something else is called Yelp. My best piece of advice? Start your own journey and figure it out. Invite others to join you. You’ll in all likelihood go to some bad places, some truly horrendous places, and maybe even a few diamonds in the rough. But in that odyssey you will at some point find yourself amongst friends rather than classmates. And then who knows? Maybe you’ll have someone to go to those epic all-night parties with.