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HOT RED BANK SOUP IN THE SLEDGER

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‘That Hot Dog Place’ owner Gary Sable sweats another day’s soup production in his tiny Monmouth Street takeout joint.

Let’s get our bias right out on the crumb-littered table: nobody writing about food for large New Jersey audiences is more in tune with his readership than ‘Eat With Pete’ columnist (and Munchmobile maven) Pete Genovese of the Star-Ledger.

Genovese, who’s logged several million odometer miles for columns and books about the oddities and backroads of his home state (and has probably eaten in every one of its diners), brings an average-person approach to approachable food.

Unlike too many food writers, he doesn’t set unattainable ideals of perfection just to knock down a dish or a restaurant for failing to live up to them. He looks for, and often finds, well-made food that satisfies the gut, the brain, and — if this is physiologically possible — the heart.

He’s also a friend of redbankgreen, so we’re doubly biased, having previously worked at two newspapers with him. But readers who know his byline are, we suspect, willing to forgive our somewhat over-the-top intro to this piece because they know he’s on their side in the never-ending search for good eats.

The point of the foregoing is that when Genovese comes to town to check out the local fare, we take notice.

Today’s installment of ‘Eat with Pete’ does a roundup of great soup joints, and includes Gary Sable’s 175-square-foot takeout spot in downtown Red Bank called That Hot Dog Place.

It’s not a total rave. Genovese is “not so sure” the broccoli cheddar soup will please everyone, and he finds the golden split pea tasting more of corn than pea. But he’s high on the spicy sausage soup:

The spicy sausage is simply sensational. I kept taking quick, furtive sips of it all the way up the Parkway. It will make my top five soup list…

Alas, the story’s not online. If you have the paper, look for it in the center spread of today’s Ticket section.

BTW, among the other places Genovese features is Heaven’s Delite on Elizabeth Avenue in Newark. He notes — and this is unbelievable but true — that this takeout stand often closes before noon because its soup sells out. If you’re up there and get a chance, stop by early. We highly recommend the turkey chili. Out of this world.

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