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In the Mood / Chicken Soup

May 08, 1997

For whatever ails you. . . .

* Sofi: Snifflers and other chicken soup aficionados duck into this pretty, tucked-away Greek restaurant where they can sit in a lovely patio and enjoy an especially good bowl of avgolemono; a chicken soup enriched with egg and lemon. ($4.95 per bowl). Sofi, 8030 W. 3rd St., (213) 651-0346.

* Canter's: The broth is so thick and yellow it's almost opaque; the matzo balls--L.A.'s largest--have an addictive sour tang; the waitress who delivers this potion is as no-nonsense as a surgeon: Canter's matzo ball soup cures everything from melancholy to pneumonia. You can also have chicken kreplach, chicken noodle, chicken rice, chicken kasha soups or the "mishmash" with a little bit of everything, even chicken meat. (Chicken soup, $2.50 to $6.95). Canter's, 419 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 651-2030.

* Nate'n Al's: Forty-six years ago, Tessie Mendelson, (Al's wife), taught 17-year-old Johnny Dennis how to make her chicken soup, and he's still at it. This is chicken soup so perfected it's a form of poetry. Start with the heavenly broth and add, as you like, noodles, rice, kasha, matzo balls, kreplach and/or carrots. (Cup, $2.75; bowl, $3.75). Nate'n Al's, 414 N. Beverly Drive., Beverly Hills, (310) 274-0101.

* Sanamluang Cafe: With crystalline broth, bean sprouts, flecks of pickled garlic, wide white rice noodles and a delectably moist steamed breast of chicken, the chicken soup at this unpretentious, perennially packed Thai fast-food joint has staunched many a misery. Add extra Chinese broccoli for color and iron. (Large bowl, $4.25). Sanamluang Cafe, 5176 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, (213) 660-8006.

* Maple Drive: Chef Leonard Schwartz's curative chicken in a pot features steamed skinless chicken with matzo balls, carrots, leeks, pearl onions, celery root and parsnips in a delicious medium-bodied, dill-scented broth. (Chicken in a pot, $20). Maple Drive, 345 N. Maple Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 274-9800.

* Asahi Ramen: At this popular Japanese noodle house, the "tan men" chicken soup contains ramen noodles, cabbage, carrots, peas, onion, mushrooms and white-meat chicken all in a full-flavored chicken, pork and vegetable broth. (Tan men soup, $6.50). Asahi Ramen, 2027 Sawtelle Blvd., West Los Angeles, (310) 479-2231.

* Ocean Star: In Monterey Park, this huge, usually mobbed seafood and dim sum restaurant serves a long-simmered chicken and ginseng soup. Sometimes it's made with baby chicken, sometimes with black chicken; the clear, satisfying broth is flavored with ham, pork and mild Chinese herbs. (Tureen of soup, $15; serves 5) Ocean Star, 145 N. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park, (818) 308-2128.

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