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Menchanko-Tei (easy to say, hard to eat)

After seeing Godspell on Broadway, the wife and I decided to pay a visit to this little restaurant on 55th Street in NYC that my buddy, Dave Townsend of TOTAL Lubricants, said has the best Japanese food in New York. If sushi is what you’re looking for, skip this place. The wife was not happy with this decision to eat here, but if you want true Japanese food, c’mon in! It’s a small place and very easy to miss.

We started with octopus dumpling balls (bet you didn’t know octopus had balls) that were actually little balls filled with rice and octopus. Hey, for $5, how sick could I get? Then we went for the rice balls… a salmon one and seaweed one, both which were quite tasty!

Then comes dinner time. Rhonda played it safe with the sashimi while I went with the signature dish – the menchanko. It’s similar to the soups you’d get in a Vietnamese place. Their menu says to “enjoy the this unique sumo tradition by slurping one of our hearty dishes.” I slurped it… all over my shirt, my face and the table, and enjoyed every minute. It’s not the easiest to eat with an oversized spoon and chopsticks. Still, you can’t go wrong with a hot bowl of noodle soup filled with chicken, shrimp, veggies and tofu and whatever else was floating around in there.

Dessert wasn’t fantastic with minimal choices. I did try some sort of pumpkin cake. Fortunately, there was a Dunkin’ Donuts next door.

Service was very good and food comes fast. This isn’t a restaurant that you’ll spend hours in. The staff could tell we were Menchanko virgins and were very helpful explaining the menu and how to eat what we ordered. The price for dinner, including a glass of plum wine for me, was under $50 including tip – reasonable for Philly and cheap for New York. If we get a chance to come back, it won’t be with my wife! I don’t think she enjoyed it nearly as much as I did.


43-435 West 55th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
(212) 247-1585

Second location:

131 East 45th Street (between 3rd and Lexington)
New York, NY 10017
(212) 986-6805


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