Lunch’er Copyboy Reports: Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen II

Back in March Yvo reported that Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen II was coming to 55th & Lex.  Lunch’er Copyboy checked in last week to let us know that it was open and to file this report. 


I was wandering Midtown East searching for lunch with my wife when we realized we were just down the block from Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen II, which opened two weeks ago. My initial report after a plate of noodles: the food is outstanding but the prices leave me a little confused about this restaurant’s mission.

First thing to note is there’s almost no entree on the menu for less than $10. There are four noodle soups for $9.75 – they look like the best value.


We were in the mood for light though so we opted for a single fried noodle dish and an app – stir-fried ramen with seafood and cucumber salad. There is also a large variety of dumplings including shu mai and soup dumplings priced from $7.95-$9.95. But there’s a 20-minute wait for most because they make them fresh — at a booth in the dining room. The noodle puller is harder to spot, through a window to the kitchen.

The hand-pulled noodles are great – chewy and full-flavored with the saucy seafood, as good as I’ve had anywhere in NYC. But $14.75 is a high price for what turned out to be a tiny plate. Usually a $15 Chinese dish in midtown at least gets you a big plate of food. The cucumber salad was perfect – crunchy, salty, sesame-y. But again, $7.95 is a lot to pay.

With the obligatory eat-in 15% service charge the meal came to nearly $25 for what was, essentially, a big appetizer. We returned to our desultory employment intending a quick stop for lunch 2 – wife to pizzeria, me to hot dog cart.

So who is going to eat at Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen II? Noodle fans: the restaurant isn’t kidding when it boasts “authentic Shanghaiese cuisine … under the hands of a master.” They’re so into noodles that they don’t even serve rice! In all my years at NYC Chinatowns I don’t believe I have ever seen a noodle house that didn’t serve rice! There are a couple of non-noodle dishes on the menu – I’d love to try the mapo tofu ($11.95). But the server warns: you’ll probably want to order some plain noodles with it ($4.00). For comparison, nearby Land of Plenty’s ample mapo tofu lunch special costs $7.95 and includes soup and rice.

Business lunchers aren’t going to be impressed by the Spartan decor and I don’t think office drones like us are going to want to cough up $20 for lunch very often. The place was half-empty when we sat down at 1:30.

Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen II kicks ass food-wise, but it doesn’t feel like any kind of bargain.

Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen II, 146 E. 55th Street


  • It doesn’t sound like a very ML-price-friendly place, it’s true, but your statement that “they’re so into noodles they don’t even serve rice” is very odd. A lot of noodle houses don’t serve rice – Lam Zhou and Super Taste come to mind.

    Thanks for the early report though, doesn’t sound like a place I should bother with for a ML post.


    The “thank you copyboy” edition”

  • Thanks for clarifying. I pass by this restaurant all the time but I wasn’t sure what they were selling. It is basically a noodle specialty restaurant.

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    Thanks for this. It definitely doesn’t sound like a lunch spot, but I wouldn’t mind having dinner here.


  • I went there a couple days ago and have some mixed feelings. I got the House Ramen or something like that. It had beef, shrimp, and egg in it. The beef was great. It reminded me of the braised beef I’ve gotten at some other places, but the pieces are big, flat, and round. Shrimp was good. The egg looked like a spiced tea egg. I typically like that, but I thought something was weird about the texture of the egg white. Maybe it was fine, but it seemed like it was chunked. I got it with flat noodles rather than ramen noodles. I wasn’t crazy about the noodles either. They looked like they were sheared (rather than cut). The broth was bland as can be. It was completely uninteresting and took away from the quality of the beef.

    I want to try other dishes there because I hope this isn’t the best they have to offer. Other people ordered dumplings that looked pretty good.

    I have a little problem with how they treat customers. They have a mandatory 15% dine-in fee “during lunch only.” It is completely obnoxious. I asked the waiters and waitresses more than once if the money goes to the wait staff and they said yes. I’m not sure that I believe it. I asked why they did that and they said that “tourists” would sometimes walk out without tipping in other locations. I pointed out that we were not in a tourist area and no other place I visit for lunch does this with small parties.

    They also have a policy written on their menu stating that they will not accept any changes, returns, etc once the food is ordered and everything ordered must be paid for. The waitress said that this applies to a small number of people. I’m sure she’s right, but putting a policy like this on the menu is obnoxious.
    In my opinion, between the mediocre quality of the noodle soup and the disrespect of the customers I would avoid this place until some of the customer policies change. It’s unwelcoming.

    People are better off at other quality noodle and ramen shops in midtown such as Xi’An, Menkui Tei, Henata, Lucky Cat, Toto, etc.

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