Archive for 'Men Kui Tei'

The Search for Midtown’s Best Katsudon

What do you picture when you think of Japanese food? Sushi probably comes to mind first, right? Then maybe teriyaki of some sort? Possibly ramen something or other? While these answers are all correct, I’d like to assert my opinion that the greatest Japanese food is actually katsudon. What is katsudon, you may ask? Well, according to Wikipedia, it’s “a bowl of rice topped with a deep-fried pork cutlet, egg, and condiments.” So basically, it’s the one Japanese dish that Americans wish they had thought of. Deep-fried meat with egg? Sign me up!

I first discovered this wondrous food when I reviewed Benton Café on 45th street a few months ago. Even though Benton’s katsudon is relatively cheap, I was immediately smitten and vowed to try as many katsudon options in midtown as I could. Sadly, the dish is most often over the Midtown Lunch limit of $10, but if you look hard enough, there are options within our budget.

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A Look at the New Men Kui Tei (Inside ISE)

Last week, we passed along a tip that old school Midtown ramen joint Men Kui Tei was being replaced by a new location of Glaze Teriyaki. It was quickly pointed out in the comments that Men Kui Tei had actually moved next door and now shares a space with ISE. I stopped by the other day to check out the new setup.

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Shocker: Men Kui Tei Being Replaced by Glaze Teriyaki!?

Not sure how we missed this one, but Midtown ramen veteran (and Mark Bittman’s favorite secret Midtown Japanese restaurant)  Men Kui Tei has shuttered (on 56th btw. 5+6th).  With Menchanko Tei a shell of its former self, this leaves Sapporo as the last of the old guard Midtown ramen spots.  Thanks to Lunch’er Benjamin for sending over this photo… it looks like it will be replaced by a Glaze Teriyaki.

UPDATE: Word in the comments is that Men Kui Tei has moved a few doors down to combine with ISE (kind of like how Menchanko Tei now shares a single space with Katsuhama on 55th?)  Full report coming soon…

Men Kui Tei Does A Pretty Decent Oyako Don

While I am still majorly bummed about Katsuhama pricing their oyako don out of the ML budget, I’ve been trying to find a new go-to spot. Recently, I hit up Men Kui Tei to check out theirs — don’t count out the rice dishes at this probable Bittman secret favorite restaurant — even though ramen is half the menu, they do very well with most everything they offer. So how did their oyako don stack up?
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Case Cracked! Mark Bittman’s Secret Favorite Restaurant is…

Men Kui Tei. It’s gotta be.  Just as we suspected last week when we posted about the secret Japanese restaurant he had alluded to in a New York Times article.  Some commenters pointed out that Men Kui Tei (on 56th btw. 5+6th) had too many white customers, was too well known, and didn’t have a good enough bowl of ramen to be the place.  But the actual evidence is just too overwhelming.  The formica tables and the word for word menu items he mentioned in the article were enough for us to suspect, but once we spotted this in the back we knew we had our place.  Sure it’s not a “cash register”, but it’s close enough.  Case closed.

It’s Just About Time For Some Cold Ramen (and Men Kui Tei’s Version is Worth a Try)

Men Kui TeiMy friend just recently discovered the wonderfulness of ramen in the form of  spicy chicken ramen at Cafe Duke (on 51st btw. 6+7th). As any good friend would do, I immediately decided to introduce her to some of the ramen shops near her work so that she wouldn’t be stuck with Cafe Duke. The first place I took her to was Men Kui Tei (56th btw. 5+6th). I’m a fan of the one in the East Village and thought it would be a great place to start. While going through the menu trying to figure out what to order I noticed they serve hiyashi (aka cold) ramen. So far the only place in Midtown I’ve had hiyashi ramen is at Sapporo, and there it’s a treat only served in the summertime.  But Men Kui Tei serves it year round!  And seeing as how it is one of my favorite foods I had to try their version.

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Men Kui Tei is Just What the Doctor Ordered


I know I promised to ease up on the Asian soups, but I’ve been sick all week… so back off! Sure, a good bowl of matzoh ball soup might have been tempting- but you know what is more tempting? A gigantic bowl of ramen. (Because this fat Jewish boy tends to react better to pork broth than chicken broth.)  I was totally inspired by Blondie and Brownie’s post about the tonkotsu ramen at Men Kui Tei (on 56th btw. 5+6th) on Monday, and it’s been a long time since I had slurped a bowl of what I called Best Ramen in Midtown back in 2007.

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It’s Freakin’ Cold Out: Me thinks is a good day for soup. Don't forget you get free spring rolls with every order of bun bo hue at OBAO (on 53rd btw. 2+3rd), or take Blondie and Brownie's advice and go for a big bowl of tonkotsu ramen from Men Kui Tei (on 56th btw. 5+6th).

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…

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