A dad and his daughters, loving life in New York City

Tuesday, July 24

Men Kui Tei

When I realized the other morning that Bo, Co, and I were going to be smack in the mid 50's around dinnertime that night, I turned to the great—though, for me, usually irrelevant—Midtown Lunch for suggestions.

The man did not let us down.

I mean, I can't say our meal at the ramen restaurant Men Kui Tei will have us hurrying back to the neighborhood anytime soon, but it definitely was rich and satisfying, inexpensive, and almost certainly better than some randomly chosen spot in this usually grim (touristy, tattered, tawdry) culinary stretch of Manhattan.

We started with some serviceable Gyoza—fat and fried with a nice crispy exterior, but too reliant upon scallions for my taste—and a quartet of sad, mushy Shu Mai, saved from complete blandness by the dipping sauce and mound of wasabi-like mustard.

But we were really here for the noodles, and, overall, they didn't disappoint. Bo and Co split a bowl of Miso Ramen and enjoyed it very much: the broth was heady, the noodles firm and flavorful, the two pieces of roast pork sufficiently tender. Just for variety I tried the Hiyashi Ramen, served cold, the nicely chewy noodles mingling with shredded pork, fried egg, pickled ginger, cucumber, and fake crab, all in about an inch of lively sesame sauce. This was perfect for what it was—the genre was not transcended, but neither was it defiled—and we all three walked out of there full and happy.

Men Kui Tei is located on 56th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The room is unattractive, the service fast and friendly. Apparently there's a second Men Kui Tei in the East Village, but for God's sakes if you want ramen in that neighborhood please go to Momofuku, Setagaya or Rai Rai Ken instead.

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Blogger lazysundae said...

i'm gonna be lame here and say that in the east village, i'd choose men kui tei over momofuku any day. maybe they've improved since i last ate there but when i tried their much hyped ramen, i was sorely disappointed in the tasteless, watery broth.

my first venture to setagaya this thursday - i've heard good things.

5:23 PM, July 24, 2007

Blogger Scott said...

Wow. You ARE being lame, lazysundae!

The ramen at Momofuku, to me, is as much about the pork as it is about the broth and noodles. And as far as that goes, Chang's got everyone else beat. By a mile.

Others (e.g., you), may disagree...

And if you put a premium on broth, I bet you're going to really love Setagaya.

6:30 PM, July 24, 2007

Blogger lazysundae said...

haha i warned you! best ramen for me hands down was at the now-closed chikubu in midtown. best shoyu ramen, with thick, melting pieces of pork.

have you tried minca? a bit much for the summer maybe but once it starts to get chilly, their basic tonkotsu ramen really hits the spot. order the extra pork and they'll need a stretcher to get you out of there.

11:09 PM, July 24, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

menkutei in the east village has always been pretty great to me.

what's so great about momofuku anyway? there's so much less to taste.

11:04 AM, July 29, 2007


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