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SOS Chefs - Recommendations? Favorites? Must Try Items?

Was wondering what you feel are particular standouts I shouldn't miss on my next visit?

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  1. Not a chance. :)

    The question was intentionally open so as to not narrow or limit the responses.

    There have been dozens of sprawling threads devoted to nothing more specific than people's favorites at places like Fairway, Trader Joe's, Kaluystyan's, and Penzey's.

    My intention was to gain just as broad a survey of chowhounder's favorite things from SOS.

    So all responses including items procured here that were particularly noteworthy will be "good responses". :)

    3 Replies
      1. re: Elisa515

        Specialty foods store on Avenue B. Well-known and loved amongst chefs for their stock of rare mushrooms, hard-to-find-spices, oils, etc., etc. Lots of molecular gastronomy ingredients, too.

        1. re: loratliff

          Exactly. My apologies if it wasn't clear from the title. I only just realized that to anyone unfamiliar with the place it may have just sounded like "Help Chefs - Give me recommendations, full stop". :)

          It's also confusing matters since my first reply above was to someone that most likely made that exact mistake, and apparently deleted their comment after I responded to them. :|

          For those curious here's their website:

          In any case, I'm actually not looking for anything specific which is why I was hoping to hear from some folks that have frequented this wonder emporium.

          Given their insane selection of gourmet goods, the next time I DO head over for a particular hard to find item, it would be fun to come armed with a few other recommendations to bring home at the same time.

          Open to anything unique and interesting really. For example I've heard they make their own in house Juniper Vineger that I'm excited to try.

    1. Such a broad question... What are you looking for? I typically don't shop there unless I'm looking for something in particular.

      1. Morel mushrooms, when jn season, for one.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathryn

          Union Market on E. Houston has beautiful fresh morels right now. They're $49.99 per pound but they looked great. Not sure what SOS sells them for.

        2. I bought a really flavorful truffle salt there a while back, don't remember the name- i put it on everything and used it pretty quickly!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ttrockwood

            Thanks Ttrockwood, will definitely ask about the Truffle Salt when I visit. This is exactly the kind of tip I was hoping to hear about.

            In particular I'm excited to hear about anything distinctive they offer which isn't easily available elsewhere for less.

          2. Cinnamon water! goes great in bourbon cocktails.

            1 Reply
            1. re: coasts

              I've been curious about this as I'd never heard of "Distilled Cinnamon Water" before learning that SOS makes this. ($20 for 8 oz)

              What does it bring to the party that cinnamon essential oil and/or cinnamon extract can't achieve for less?

            2. Honestly, I think that the staff are great & really know their stuff, but the place is just insanely expensive. For spices, I'd much rather go to Dual Specialty a few blocks west (http://www.dualspecialty.com). They have every spice under the sun.
              East Village Eats: http://eveats.com

              6 Replies
              1. re: EV_Eats

                Thanks for saying that. I visited the place shortly after it was opened, was floored by the $24/lb. cheddar cheese and $30/lb. Comte', and I bought some nuts just to see if they were better than any other places, and they were mediocre. I don't like what shops like that are doing to my neighborhood, but of course they serve the people who bought the new luxury high-rise apartments. But I guess for people who have so much money, they don't care about saving it by going to Murray's and other shops where they can get the same or similar items for less, maybe it's a good place. That's my impression, anyway.

                1. re: Pan

                  For what it's worth, Murray's has Jasper Hill's clothbound cheddar priced at $29.99/lb and the two year Comte at $34.99/lb. Unsure what SOS is offering, but the prices don't seem out of line.

                  1. re: coasts

                    Last time I was there (admittedly a while ago), Murray's was selling good Comte for something like $24/lb. I love good Comte but will go without rather than pay that much. And I can't imagine cheddar that's worth that kind of price.

                    1. re: coasts

                      Exactly. That's what high-end cheeses cost. At Fairway, WF, etc. you might find something on sale, but you also have to be careful at Fairway - much of the pricing displayed is by the 1/4 pound.

                      DiPalo's is probably one of the more reasonable places for certain Italian cheeses.

                      1. re: mitchleeny

                        Fairway is a dangerous place to buy cheeses because they don't store some of them properly. I got a cheddar (I believe it was) with sticky toffee pudding there a while ago (probably over a year ago), and most of it tasted great, but the last couple of inches of it had that refrigerator taste. I've found Whole Foods outlandishly expensive for cheese and don't buy any there. You probably think their prices are "fair," and that's fine for you.

                        By the way, for the record, my reactions were actually to the Union Market, which is on Av. A and Houston. I don't know this place on Av. B

                  2. re: EV_Eats

                    Second Dual Specialty.

                    Dual carries Harissa Paste, variety of peppercorns, etc.

                    SOS looks interesting. . .