Midtown Lunch Flashback: Larmen Dosanko

If you work on Madison near 49th St., you may have noticed this sign on the side of one of the buildings:



I noticed it the other day when walking back from my lunch at Fusion Grills.  Excitedly, I followed the big arrow to what I was hoping would be “The World’s Finest Noodle Shop”, but secretly I knew there was going to be nothing at the bottom of that arrow.  If there was an amazing noodle shop named Larmen Dosanko on 49th & Madison, I probably would have heard of it by now.

For those of us who are new to eating Ramen in New York City, Larmen Dosanko was a Japanese chain of noodle shops that were very popular in the 80s.  Apparently there was also one on 52nd & 5th, and one in Flushing (which it seems was the last one to close in the late 90s).  For some nostalgic Dosanko reading, check out this Google thing or this chowhound post.  (The google link has a New York Times article from 1981).  If you have any old pictures of this place (or any Midtown Lunch related photos) feel free to post them on the newly created Flickr Midtown Lunch Group.

Luckily there is no shortage of Ramen in Midtown.  Check out Men Kui Tei, either of the two branches of Menchanko Tei, or Sapporo for your larmen/ramen fix.


  • Check out Mee Noodle on 49th and 2nd – pretty loyal following. Fast and fresh.

  • Ooh, is that why Menkui Tei has a sign on it saying “LARMEN”? Is LARMEN 80s jargon for RAMEN? (my picture: http://xcd.xanga.com/d9eb3a024403332817356/b22793791.jpg) I wondered about that. Interesting…

  • My parents have worked in the neighborhood for the last 20 years and I used to go to that Dosanko. In high school I used to also go to one on 59th Street Between 3rd Avenue and 2nd that was next to a now-closed branch of Forbidden Planet. They had set lunches. One was Gyoza A, which came with gyoza and yakisoba and a teeny salad, then there was a Gyoza B that I think came with fried chicken. The specialties were soy sauce-heavy yakisoba and this very greasy dark brown “Japanese” fried chicken. In the later years they also introduced a Wasabi Gyoza I used to order. Honestly, it wasn’t that great, just an okay cheap joint, and much better than Teriyaki Boy.

  • But you didn’t mention Longchamps, the other sign on the building. Ahh, the good old midtown days – Childs, Longchamps, Schrafft’s, Stouffer’s – so many “ladies” places and the sandwiches at Chock Full o’Nuts – probably all before your time.

  • There used to be a Dosanko on 45th, bet. 3rd and Lex, where there is now a Chinese noodle shop. It’s a couple places down where there is now a Menchankotei.

  • I remember the Dosanko’s on Madison and also the one on 59th (wasn’t it near Serendipity? and Zona Rosa?) Anyway, the good thing was you could get a steaming bowl of hot soup with noodles and the soup had a nice soy flavor. There were Miso flavor, Butter flavor, Soy Sauce flavor, and some others. They were only 5.95 and the waiters never seemed hopeful about a tip. The downside was there was no meat in the dishes, and no vegetables. One Larmen was Beef, but it was 7.95, for a few slim strips of beef on top of the pile of noodles. They also made good gyoza. This was way before Teriyaki Boy or the zillions of Japanese restaurants, when you either ate sushi, or something exotic and expensive. Plus even in the 80s, 5.95 was a deal in midtown. You could also rely on them to have relatively inexpensive Sapporo, less than at a bar.

  • I used to go to the one on 5th between 32 & 33. I think they were one of the last ones. Loved theiir gyoza with yakisoba…

  • There used to be one between 6th & 7th, in one of the XYZ buildings. I worked in the ‘X’ building when I just got out of college, and I swear their beef curry over rice fed me for the better part of a year. i also remember ‘splurging’ on the gyoza meals.

  • Hi, I have a mixed media construction entitled “425 Madison Avenue” made by artist Hely Lima. (Other work by this artist can be seen by visiting Uptown Gallery, NYC either online or in person). The piece depicts the building on the corner where Dosanko’s was located and Dosanko’s itself!!! It’s very cool looking and a fabulously nostalgic piece. Contact me if interested.

  • i used to love Dosanko in Flushing! That one closed a couple of years ago… now it’s some wannabe japanese noodle shop =(

  • Ahhh. I miss Dosanko. I loved their Yakisoba and Kara Age. I used to go to the 59th street location right after browsing Forbidden Planet a few doors down. What great memories.

  • Where can you get Gyoza with Yakisoba these days? I used to order it with a large “side salad.” The ginger dressing was perfect. I’ll never forget the friendly proprietor at the 45th street location who would always say, “Enjoy your dinner” as you were seated.

    There was one way downtown like on Warren St (or close by)which was pretty good.

    What happened to them?

  • OMG! I finally found some info about this place! Ate there alot in the mid 80′s before moving to Ohio…good times…good times…

  • cuz we both thought,that love last foreve. Serafino Raimondo.

  • Ahh, the memories! My mom used to take me to the one on 59th street almost every Friday and we’d order their fried chicken and finish it with a scoop of green tea ice cream.

    It might just be the nostalgia, but I remember loving their ramen, full of those pungent mushy canned bamboo shoots.

  • OK So everyone loved my favorite restaurant..Dosanko!
    I ate there 4 days a week. My husband used to say I should buy stock in the place.
    yes they are closed and I have managed to figure out how to cook the dumplings but I can not find the right way to duplicate the yakisoba or miso larmen
    Any one have the receipes???????
    Ohh and maybe the fried chicken too? It was sooooo good.

  • i used to work on 45th bet 2nd and third from 1980-90. once i discovered dosanko i ate there or had my food picked up almost everyday. love the gyoza b lunch which had the fried chicken. it was spectacular!! the only time i didnt eat there was when i ate at hsin u a great chinese spot which relocated to 45th between 2nd and 1st run by two kid brothers who made the best food, or keats a bar on 2nd between 45th and 44th. they made a great roast beef and provalone (i think) sandwich which was to die for. i worked for 1 company for 10 yrs straight, loved everyone there and have a lot of great non-food memories also. dosanko rip! but i hope you make a comeback…

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