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Jul 12, 2006 11:51 PM

Japanese noodle bars

We are visiting NYC with our 2 daughters who want to try authentic japanese noodles. I remember the Times ran an article of a few about a year ago. Any real recommendations. Both love interesting food, as so we.

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  1. IMO, the best place for ramen in NYC right now is Minca in the East Village on E. 5th St. between Aves. A & B. They make a really nice shoyu ramen.

    For soba try Soba-Ya, also in the East Village on 9th St. between 2nd & 3rd.

    Since it's summer it's time for one of my favorite Japanese noodle dishes, the cold ramen and veggies thing called Hayashi Chuka. I always used to get this at Sapporo on 49th St. just off of 7th Ave. when I worked in Midtown, but I have no idea where the best place is to get it these days. Does anyone know?

    9 Replies
    1. re: Woodside Al

      "Hiyashi" chuka actually. "Hiyashi" means chilled. "Hayashi" has a different meaning, besides being a common family name...Anyway, hiyashi-chuka is a pretty generic term- doesn't have to be vegetables. Anybody know of good hiyashi-chuka ramens around town? This is a great introduction to a Japanese summer standard...I recently had a hiyashi tan-tan-men at Menkui-tei near St. Marks that wasn't so great...BTW, IMO, the best, most authentic, ramen in the area is in Edgwater, NJ at Santouka Ramen, in the Mistuwa Japanese supermarket plaza.

      1. re: Silverjay

        Rairaiken on E 10th (betw 1st and 2nd) has cold ramen with chicken, seaweed, apples, sundried tomatoes, spinach and ginger (I might have left out an ingredient or two)--Love it. They also have cold ramen with ground pork, I think. I like their (hot) shio ramen and miso ramen, too.

        1. re: kenito799

          Sounds interesting enough, but that's not even close to "authentic". My one experience at Rairaiken was subpar. A Japanese friend and I both gave up half-way through a bowl and walked out.

          1. re: Silverjay

            that's why i can't wait to try minca...i was rairaiken regular when i lived on 11th...always shio ramen or that hayashi. you should give it a chance--although why bother if better is 7 blocks away. momofuku is worse though, i agree with the other posters, stay away from the noodles there.

        2. re: Woodside Al

          Sapporo is a great place for lunch in Midtown, but I don't know if I would recommend going out of your way for it. You can check out pictures at and decide for yourself...

          1. re: Woodside Al

            Of the midtown hiyashi chuka slingers, I'd describe them thusly:

            1. Sapporo- Everything but the kitchen sink hiyahsi chuka. Last time I was there, my noodles were topped with beef, chicken, krab, egg, red pickled gari slivers, cukes, shrooms, seaweed, tomato, corn. Broth was dark and sweet. Tasty, but overmuch and ingredients on the cheap side.

            2. Menchanko-Tei: Elegant broth, finer ingredients than Sapporo. The Aristocratic hiyashi. Just egg, chicken, cukes, shrooms, and seaweed, I believe.

            3. MenKuiTei: Splits the difference, though less satisfying than either.

            1. re: Spoony Bard

              Finally made it to Men Kui Tei and I have to say the part about it being somewhere in between Sapporo and Menchanko Tei, was a perfect description. Nicer and more quality ingredients then Sapporo, but still quick, cheap and easy. Only downside is how small it is... you really have to get there early!

              The only thing I disagree with, is I left completely satisfied! I would definetely recommend it for anyone looking for ramen in midtown. Check out the pics @

              1. re: Spoony Bard

                Men Kui Tei--bleh. Went there with a friend and both of our dishes were way overly salty, even more so than what's considered "normal" for noodle shops.

            2. i really like the tonkatsu ramen soup at saburi on 30th and lexington. i actually just had the yasai (?) ramen which is with chicken broth. it was perfect. very low key japaense/chinese "healthy" fusion place where apparently the chef was tutored by chef kinichi (of iron chef fame). they also have great gyoza.

              1. Menchenko Tei, midtown Manhattan, favorite place, exquisite, lot of Japanese patrons, last time I was there, noticed the secret is out, 2 locations,
                if only they'd open a few in LA!

                2 Replies
                1. re: luswei

                  Menchanko-Tei has its charms, but the 55th Street location is not as good as the 45th Street one.



                  1. re: luswei

                    I don't care for Menchanko Tei. It's ok in a pinch.

                  2. I'd second Woodside Al's recs. You can see the noodles being made at Soba-ya so that might be a fun thing.

                    1. I loved Soba-Ya the one time I got in. There is often a long line there.

                      Compared to Soba-Ya, I guess a ramen house like Menkui-Tei is more informal and prosaic (and cheaper), but it's grown on me. There are two branches, one in Midtown and the other in the East Village on Cooper Square (downtown extension of 3rd Av.) between St. Marks Place and 7th St. If you go there, make sure to get the gyoza, which are excellent. Be careful not to order ramen that goes for $9.50 unless you plan on splitting it, because those bluish bowls are ridiculously humongous.