A familiar-sounding origin story for sopa Paraguaya involves a chef who overthickens her soup, a bold and ingenious change of recipe, and a delighted potentate who proclaims the resulting dish delicious.
Though the literal translation from Spanish is "Paraguayan soup," sopa Paraguaya (also shown below, $4) resembles a very dense corn souffle. This common accompaniment to grilled meats also goes great with caldo so'o apu'a (Fridays only, $6.25), a soup of the more usual variety; it sports beef meatballs laden with bits of vegetables and hardboiled egg. Whether you dunk slices in the so'o apu'a or eat it straight up, sopa Paraguaya is very rich for a side dish. In such company, the included plate of cold boiled yuca, spritzed with lemon juice, is little more than a palate freshener.
Also shown: vori vori de pollo (Tuesdays and Saturdays only, $6.25), a chicken soup named for those golden balls of cornmeal. (Tranquilo, amigo, you can choose from corn-free side dishes aplenty.) Though a majority of menu items have Spanish names, vori vori, so'o apu'a, and not a few others are in Guaraní, Paraguay's other official language. This bright, casual, family-run business may be the only restaurant that serves them in New York. Special note: If you skip the sopa Paraguaya, you might have more room for the alfajores de maizena, or the pastafrola, or one of the many other housemade desserts.
I Love Paraguay Restaurant (previously known as I Love Py Bakery Cafe)
43-16 Greenpoint Ave. (43rd-44th Sts.), Sunnyside, Queens