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ethnic/cheap/good near 46th and 2nd?

Expecting that it's not the right area to be looking for any of those three things, but... might be moving to 46th and 2nd, and was hoping someone could excite me about some of the nearby options. Loosely nearby -- don't mind a walk. Holes in the wall, authentic ethnic anything, unexpected surprises? I love a bunch of the Indian places on Lex/20s, but hoping for some other ideas -- esp. worthwhile Japanese (not necessarily sushi) or Thai.... Expecting the subway over to Queens may end up being the right choice for a lot of what I'll be looking for, but thought I'd try...

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  1. I think the Japanese ramen noodle soup at Menchanko-Tei is not bad and it is near by the location you have specified. It's located at: 131 East 45th (between Lex and 3rd). It's not the best ramen noodle in the world but I think for what you get in midtown, the price is good.

    I also like a Japanese restaurant called Ise (at 151 East 49th, between Lex and 3rd). Their price is pretty good and I usually order the combo dinner (sushi, tempura, teriyaki, etc.). They also have a lot of appetizers too. Again, not the best Japanese food in NYC but decent for the price they charge.

    If you don't mind walking downtown a little bit, you can also try Wu Liang Ye (338 Lexington, between 39th and 40th). The food is similar to their 48th street branch but I think it's a couple of dollars cheaper. Hot and Spicy dishes (Chinese/Szechuan) there are good and I know a lot of customers order hot pot during winter time (I think you need to have 2 people minimum to order).

    I am sure other folks will make recommendation around this area. I am curious to know because I have been looking for new places to go around Grand Central.

    7 Replies
    1. re: bearmi

      I would say Wu Liang Ye was very overpriced for chinese food

      1. re: mbs

        Really? I've been there with large groups of people - to the 86th street one - had great feasts of food, and don't recall paying more than $20 - $30 a piece.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I've walked past the one on lex and 38th...20 dollars for an entree at a chinese restaurant I think is a lot!

          1. re: mbs

            Yes, there are some at that price range, but plenty in the $12 and under range as well.

            http://www.menupages.com/menuprocess?...

            1. re: MMRuth

              Thanks for the link, MMRuth. I usually order the "Sauteed Chicken with Rainbow Vegetables" or "Braised Beef Filet and Napa Cabbage" and they are definitely under $20. I think their lunch special is even cheaper and you get a decent amount of food. However, some of their "Signature Dishes" are above $20 but I usually order them only for special occasions.

              I think it's very likely that Wu Liang Ye is more expensive than a typical Chinese take-out joints but I think their food is relatively authentic and worth the extra money, especially if we don't splurge on the more expensive signature dishes.

        2. re: mbs

          I totally agree. I went there for lunch with my brother and cousin maybe a couple of years ago. They price things high for the business lunch crowd. And we were pretty unimpressed with our food. I see no reason to go back, when I can go to Szechuan Gourmet, instead, and live a couple of blocks from Grand Sichuan St Marks (which, however, has been increasing its prices lately, too).

          1. re: Pan

            It seems like there might be a difference between Wu Liang Ye locations? I think I count more raves for the WLY upper east side location. I went to the midtown one the other day (46th/5th) and it was really pretty gross. The Braised Beef with Napa Cabbage was cornstarch-y and gloppy the Broccoli w Spicy Garlic tasted just like the 3 dollar takeout place, and the dumplings were heavy, flavorless wads. Plus it was absurdly expensive! Yuck.

      2. check out phoenix garden. i think it's on 40th off 2nd Ave.

        1. There is a surprisingly authentic Filipino restaurant on 45th and 2nd (Bayan Cafe). Dinuguan, kare-kare and chicharon bulaklak are all pretty good. Pampano on 49th also does rather well for Mexican food. Otherwise the area is crawling with little Japanese nooks like Menchanko-Tei, Cafe Zest and some nearby markets if I remember correctly.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JungMann

            thanks -- i'll check these out!