Former Mee Noodle Chef Opens Teriyaki Cart
As much as we complain about Midtown as a “culinary wasteland”, the cart scene is probably the best in the city (rivaled only by Jackson Heights, perhaps?) When it comes to variety, we pretty much have everything- with few exceptions. 2 1/2 years ago, we even had a Japanese teriyaki cart (on 50th btw. 6+7th)- which disappeared as quickly as it popped up. Well, I’m excited to report that teriyaki has returned to the Midtown cart scene (on the NW corner of 49th & 3rd), and it is a huge improvement on the original.
Simply labeled “Teriyaki”, the new cart is owned and operated by a former chef from Mee Noodle (the one on 9th Ave. btw. 53+54th.) I guess he got sick of being a Japanese cook in a Chinese restaurant? It’s not a place you’d brag about being a chef at, but I always found Mee to be a pretty great standby for some pretty cheap and greasy noodle soup with roast pork and dumplings. You won’t find any of that on this cart though… it’s strictly Japanese with three kinds of teriyaki ($5 chicken, and $6 beef or salmon), three kinds of ramen ($5 chicken teriyaki, $6 beef curry or fish ball), $1 chicken or beef on a stick (yakitori), and edamame or seaweed salad for $2.
I decided to start things off with a little meat on a stick action. The chicken was the kind of chewy low grade dark meat chicken you get at a Thai Restaurant in L.A. (if you’ve ever eaten in L.A.’s thai town you know exactly what I’m talking about.) It was tasty though, and for $1 it’s hard to complain too much. The beef, however, was where it was at. Flavorful, pretty tender (for cheap meat on a stick), and for $1 it’s a steal. Easily the better of the two. (Beware of the grease though… it leaks out the tin foil.)
I also tried the chicken teriyaki ramen (how could I not!) That’s right. They take a bowl of ramen noodle soup, and put a scoop of chicken teriyaki over the top. Awesome. Not surprisingly, the noodles were more like spaghetti than good ramen, and completely mushy. But that’s really the only real complaint I have about the soup. The broth was really flavorful, and the chicken teriyaki added a nice sweetness to the whole thing that was really enjoyable. The soy sauce egg was an excellent touch as well. And for $5, it is a really good amount of food. The broth is pretty greasy though, similar to Mee… but not enough to ruin the soup.
For a brand new cart, I have to say I was pretty impressed, and I will definitely be back to try the beef curry soup, and the chicken and beef teriyaki plates.
THE + (What somebody who loves this place would say)
- Everything from a cart tastes better!
- The beef on a stick is really good, especially for $1
- Chicken teriyaki in a ramen soup? Bring it on!
- Really cheap for the amount of food you get
- I love soy sauce eggs!
THE – (What somebody who hates this place would say)
- The chicken is a pretty low quality
- The soup is a little too greasy
- Putting teriyaki chicken into a bowl of ramen is just wrong!
- The noodles in the soup are terrible
- I’d rather spend a little bit more money and get better Japanese food
Teriyaki Cart (NW Corner of 49th & 3rd)
Thanks to luncher Mark & PK for the tip.