J. Ritz Nate 'n Al
Matzo ball soup is a comfort food with a relatively simple taxonomy. Camps are mostly divided along the lines of sinkers vs. floaters, clean broth vs. noodles/crackers/carrots/etc. Opinions range and styles vary, and a perusal of the literature by authorities such as Claudia Roden and Gil Marks suggests that what we currently see in delis around Los Angeles is a very limited expression of the matzo ball. But it's hard to shake the fact that the typical matzo ball lover's most idealized version was probably cooked in the home of a relative or friend, rather than served in a restaurant. When your family's point of reference is, say, tender matzo balls with a firm pumpernickel center that took a couple days to make, no deli kitchen churning out monochromatic dumplings can ever compete.
Some of the most interesting and best matzo balls currently served in Los Angeles are presented in a manner that is obviously not kosher -- and we're not using that term metaphorically. (For a primer on the history of mazto balls, known as matza knaidel in Yiddish, read Marks' historical insight published in the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.) The local matzo ball situation improves vastly during Passover, when some L.A. chefs revisit and often put their own spin on this classic. In the meantime, here is our list of the Top 5 Matzo Ball Soups in Los Angeles.More »