By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Oct 30, 2021 at 7:26 PM

’Tis Dining Month, the tastiest time of year! This means we’re dishing up fun and fascinating food content throughout October. Dig in, Milwaukee!

With fall in full effect and temperatures dropping, it's time for the world's best food: soup. So every Saturday, broth buff Matt Mueller will showcase a different slurp-worthy spoonful around Brew City. Cheers!

Modern science and medicine have achieved remarkable things. And yet, there is still no better cure for one's aches, whether physical or emotional, than a bowl of soup – a bowl of matzo ball soup from Benji's Deli, to be precise. 

If you haven't had lunch at Benji's – either the original Shorewood location or its second Fox Point spot – then you missing a significant box on your Milwaukee to-do list. Benji's has been a Milwaukee institution for almost 60 years now, one of the few old-fashioned delis in the city still serving and slicing scrumptious meats, midday favorites, Jewish cuisine traditions and more. And while the original Shorewood space has made changes over the years, it still maintains a cozy, no-frills, communal vibe – a simple place where the aesthetic is made by the people and the food, not the decor or the whims of style. 

The menu is a little more extravagant, featuring a plethora of sandwiches, salads, burgers, melts, "noshes," Jewish staples, breakfast items and beyond. And, of course, there are the soups, offering deli icons like cabbage borscht, mushroom barley, chili, creamy tomato parmesan, a soup of the day option and the famous chicken soup – which comes with either noodles, rice, kreplach dumplings, mish mosh (aka everything) or matzo balls. While these are all good and delicious options, there is a correct selection: the matzo balls.

There's just something profoundly satisfying about Benji's matzo balls – not only the taste and texture, which is dense yet tender without falling into mushiness or goop, but the actual act of eating them. Taking your spoon and delicately cutting your way through a sphere with the most bare effort, leaving a clean and smooth glistening sliced side is the kind of strangely brain-pleasing satisfaction that YouTube videos are made of – except even better because you also have something delicious to eat as well.

Then there's the broth itself, which is pure classic soothing comfort and warmth. There's nothing in the broth itself, no chunks of chicken or herbs floating around. It's just pure, distilled spoonfuls of rich chicken flavor, salty gratification and relaxing homeyness – not too liquidy and watery, not too dense and claggy. I know the other soup supplements taste great as well – but the combination of the matzo balls and the broth are a warm and calming mental vacation in a bowl.

The origin of the word "restaurant" comes from the French word for "restore or refresh" – and that being the case, Benji's matzo ball soup makes it a definitional restaurant, a place where one goes to be restored, refreshed and ready to take on whatever awaits outside the deli's doors. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.