Udon West May Just Be a Glorified Teriyaki Boy
Let me just admit something off the bat… unlike like many bloggers who consider their opinion worthwhile because they have access to software that transmits their words onto the interwebs, I will admit that there are some things I don’t have a ton of experience with (so maybe my opinion should come with a grain of salt). And one of those things is Japanese udon soup. Even though there are many cheap versions all over Midtown (a lot of delis now carry it), it has never really made it into my repertoire of lunches. (Sauteed udon is a different story!) If I want soup, I usually go with ramen… and when it comes to ramen, two of my three favorite places (Menchanko Tei & Men Kui Tei) were kind of bashed by Rameniac. So either he’s wrong, or I don’t know shit about ramen either.
The same group that owned Teriyaki Boy, owns Udon West, but there is no mistaking the decor change. Udon West is a sit down restaurant that bears more resemblance to Momofuku than a lunch place that could be in a mall food court. The menu, however, is a different story. It’s practically the same as Teriyaki Boy. Is it possble they didn’t change the food?
We ordered three different dishes, to see what was going on:
The Oyaku Don (chicken, egg and onion over rice) was slightly better than pre-packaged fast food Japanese but not as good as the version at a place like Katsuhama.
The plain udon broth was really salty (a good thing if you like your broth really salty), and had a nice flavor but it wasn’t mind blowing. From my limited experience, the noodles seemed a little overcooked and not much better than what you would get from one of the delis in Midtown.
I’m pretty sure Curry Udon w/ Fried Chicken is just the regular udon with a scoop of their curry sauce added into the bowl (that’s what it is at Teriyaki Boy), and it was my favorite of the three. The fried chicken probably helped… ($7.50)
For comparison sake, a few days later I picked up a bowl of the curry udon w/ fried chicken from Teriyaki Boy:
My dining companion said the Teriyaki Boy version was actually *better* but I’m not totally convinced. The fried chicken at Udon West seemed like it was a higher quality product, but the noodles and broth are not so much better to make a huge impact either way… and that’s probably not a good thing, if you are looking for a lunch to match your surroundings at Udon West.
In the end, the prices are right (everything is under $10 unless you want a combo) and the place is perfect if you are looking for fast food Japanese in a nice sit down setting. Expect anything more any you may be disappointed.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- The prices are really cheap, and it’s nice to have some Midtown Lunch’ish food in a nice setting
- It’s just good Japanese fast food
- The fried chicken was good, and may have even been cooked fresh. (And if that’s any indication, I’m guessing the fried tempura is good as well)
- The broth is a little better, and slightly more refined, than what you would get at a deli (but not that much better)
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- It’s probably not the same food they served at Teriyaki Boy, but you can’t be completely sure (and that’s not really a good thing… unless you loved Teriyaki Boy, and wished the place was nicer!)
- The udon seemed like the same noodles you get at most take out delis in Midtown
- You can’t really compare ramen and udon, but if you are a huge Menchanko-Tei, Udon West’s noodles are not as high a quality product as Menchanko Tei’s ramen (and not that much cheaper either)
Udon West, 150 E. 46th Street (btw. Lex+3rd), 212-922-9677