Men Kui Tei

I’m not a ramen expert.  I’ve never been to Japan.  But I love Asian food, and the few experiences with ramen bars I’ve had here in New York City have been positive.  I’m a huge fan of Momofuku.  Probably because I love pork, and they do pork pretty darn well.  Reading alot of the Momofuku backlash on places like Chowhound has gotten me well acquainted with what ramen afficianados consider more traditional ramen places in New York City.  The truth is for someone just looking for decent lunch in Midtown, all three Midtown recommendations will yield delicious food.  In fact I find it hard to compare three places that are all really good- but there are some small differences that may make a difference to different people.

One of the three places is right next to my office, and I wrote about it a few weeks ago.  Sapporo.  Highly recommended, and considered pretty authentic, many people claim it is the closest thing to a real Japanese ramen place.  I enjoyed my lunch there, and I’ll definitely recommend it and eat there again.  But for some people, Sapporo might be a far walk, or a little too authentic (i.e. dirty) and the ingredients are on the cheap side.  So with that in mind, you have another option:  Men Kui Tei on 56th between 5th & 6th ave.

In comparison to Sapporo, Men Kui Tei is definitely a more “business” environment.  The decor is a little nicer (if that’s what you’re into), but it’s also a lot smaller, and fills up much easier (a big drawback if you are in a rush and don’t get there early enough).  In fact, we got there at 12:15pm, and still have to wait 5 minutes for a table.  By the time we left at 12:50, there were about 8-10 people lined up along the wall inside the doorway.  I would definitely recommend getting there early.  In fact, they even offer an Early Bird special.  Get there before 12:15pm and an order of Gyoza are $2.50 (instead of $4) and the “Set Menu” Curry Rice or Fried Rice is $1.50 (instead of $3.00).

Pictures of what we got, and the +/- after the jump…

fried pork dumplings ($4.00)

Miso Ramen
miso flavored noodle soup w/ roast pork, bean sprout, bamboo shoot and scallion ($7.50)

Hiyashi Ramen
cold noodle salad with sesame seed sauce, bean sprouts, chopped roast pork, cucumber, egg, imitation crab and pickled ginger $8.50

To me, you can’t go wrong with Gyoza. Some people may be able to find fault with these, but they tasted fine to me.  The Miso Ramen was delicious, with a much better quality of pork then Sapporo.  The Hiyashi Ramen is a perfect summertime treat.  It is described as  cold noodle salad, but since there is some cold broth at the bottom, I like to think of it more like a cold soup.  All the toppings were delicious, and because the pork was chopped, it seemed better and less fatty then the roast pork in the hot soup.

All in all I really enjoyed my lunch, and while I’m sure many people will disagree with me, I think Men Kui Tei is now my favorite Ramen place in Midtown.  But I will still go to Sapporo on those days when I don’t feel like walking…  In the end, we don’t have enough good places in Midtown to rule out one or the other.  They’re both great- and are worth the trip!


  • Reasonably priced, quick and delicious
  • Great cold soup dishes for the summertime
  • Early bird specials if you are willing to show up before 12:15pm
  • A little bit nicer decor then Sapporo and the ingredients seem a little better
  • If you work on the North or North East side of Midtown- this is your place


  • If you work close to Sapporo and enjoy it, this might not be worth the extra walk (but it’s still a good place to try!)
  • Really small, so it gets pretty crowded, pretty quick.  You’ve got to get there early if you don’t want to wait
  • It’s a more “business” enivronment then Sapporo, which may seem more authentic to some
  • Cash only, no credit cards

Men Kui Tei, 60 W. 56th St. (btw. 5 & 6th), 212-757-1642


  • I’ve been here and was pretty disappointed. Their spicy broth looks to be nothing more than tabasco (and tastes worse than it looks). The much better (and authentic – I spent some time in Japan) ramen shop in the area is Menchanko-Tei, just around the corner on 55th between Fifth and Sixth.

  • I had the miso ramen. The roast pork was so tasty . Lot of flavors .. really deelish .. i would suggest it .

    While waiting for my food I saw that EVERYONE that was eating there got the gyoza… it looked AWESOME. Next time i go there I am definetely gonna try it .. will keep you guys posted…..

  • It reminded me of the little ramen shops I loved at various train stations in Japan. The curry ramen worked wonders on my hangover.

  • ramen is not the only thing good at menkui-tei. highly recommend the fried rice or the curry rice!

  • dude, i love that miso pork ramen, i wish that shop was nearer to my house so i can go there everyday. reminds me of naruto-how he goes to the ramen shop…

  • definitely try the sara udon (japanese chop suey over pan fried thin egg noodles) and the fried rice

    actually, the fried rice alone is worth the line – i’ve noticed that it’s better at lunch than at dinner (different chef maybe)

    don’t forget that this place is cash only

  • I second the comment about the fried rice. For $7, either eat in or take out, they give you a ton of it and it’s so good!! It’s pork and shrimp fried rice. And the put pickled ginger on top which gives the whole thing a certain heat. I crave it and need to fight that need alomost daily, well M-F around noon.

  • well-priced, if you can withstand the wait, but the ramenss were only just a little above average. I agree w/ the 1st poster(Scott) that the 55th st place is better; more flavor and ingredients in their ramens. The Appetizers (Gyoza/Shu Mai) were very good though at $4/each and the beer is actually not too expensive for midtown (3.50). If only Wagamama would make the journey down from Boston now that it’s expanding into North America…

  • looked for it, but it’s called something totally different now. ended up going next door to Pro Korean. Bento box style preparations of bibimbap, scallion pancakes, and bibim nangmyun(!). I chose the noodles (bibim nangmyun), my first official korean summer dish!

    okay, i was excited about it until i tasted. it’s okay, and by okay, i mean fair. not terribly spicy, noodles are a little overdone. and for close to $10, hmmmm….. but then again, even bad korean tends to be a lot better than most other poorly prepared foods.

  • not bad. still haven’t found a ramen spot that comes close to the awesomeness of Santouka though.

  • The gyoza was so good – I think that’s the best thing on the menu frankly – and take out reheated at night is still incredible. I could easily polish off three orders of gyoza and I’m going back there often.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Gone way down hill. Used to be my go-to hole in the wall ramen place but sadly it’s slipped. Dirty, run down, erratic kitchen service, inconsistent food. Dishes come out randomly, appetizers at the end of the meal, ramen for one person and then others at the table wait upwards of ten minutes for the exact same ramen. Drinks take forever. Just not what it used to be. With all the good ramen places like Totto Ramen on 52nd and Tabata Ramen on 9th ave as well as Menchenko-Tei just around the the block on 55th street, I won’t be sitting at their counter anymore.

Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.