Assari Ramen: Light and simple yet flavorful and satisfying. Topped with simmered pork slices, boiled egg, seaweeds, bamboo shoots, and scallions ($8.50)

Not recommended.

I have never started off with a post with those two harsh words, but you’ll see why later throughout the post. So if you want to skip the details, just scroll and read the paragraphs with the bolded words.

I admit- sometimes it’s really embarrassing when you go out to a restaurant, whip out your camera, and start clicking away while your neighbors just stare at you, thinking to themselves, “UH TOURISTS?” But whenever I eat out with Ling, it’s not so bad because instead of just one camera, where are now two that click in unison. And this time, when Ling asked our neighboring diners to take a picture for both of us, they asked, “So where are you from?” Of course, the response from them upon hearing our answer is always unanimous with, “Oh, so you’re from around here? Now, maybe you can give us some recommendations. Do you know of any places that serve __________ around here?”

Menchanko-tei is a popular ramen spot in Midtown for those ballers who are too cheap to afford anything more than a $12 dinner. The restaurant is essentially a long strip with tables seating 2 along the right wall and a short bar along the left when you first enter in. There’s a gap in the middle for the restroom and employee’s room, and then another seating section.

ramen
Hakata Ramen ultra thin ramen noodles in a rich pork broth topped with simmered pork slices, black mushrooms, red ginger, and scallions  ($8.50)

If it weren’t for Ling’s realization that her bowl was missing an egg, we probably would have never realized the mistake. But because of this error, I can now actually tell you how I felt about each dish.

  • Assari Ramen– Really rich and a slightly salty broth that has heavy hints of seaweed. The ramen is the soft wavy type so it soaks up the broth alot faster than the other types of noodles. It almost looks like a lump of shredded seaweed on the side, but the seaweed is pretty awesome.
  • Hakata Ramen– Broth is a bit thicker in color and less flavorful than the Assari. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing because the reason why the other broth was so much more flavorful was due to the excessive amount of salt (and perhaps MSG!) in it. The meat wasn’t really anything special. If anything it was a bit bland. I did like the mushroom though!

ramen!
That was the last bite before Ling realized the mistake.

ramen
That giant stick of a spoon was annoying. It was huge! Why couldn’t they just give the normal soup spoons? Plus, the spoon part is made out of some silicon like material, making it look and feel cheap.

mensenku tsei

Don’t get me wrong. I think this place was better than Ramen Setagaya but not as good as Ippudo. But what really annoyed me wasn’t the server’s error but rather the end of the meal where it was really apparent that the host/manager tried to usher us out as quickly as possible. I mean, I know that there were people waiting for our table, but our server had just dropped off our check when literally 5 seconds later, the manager came by to pick up our cards. Uh, HELLO! Can we at least look at the check before you usher our sorry butts out the door?

ramen bar

The last impression that any customer has of a place is the most important because it’s what they remember. So even if that ramen was the best I ever had, I still wouldn’t go back because of that manager’s reckless actions.

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43-45 W. 55th St.
New York, NY 10019
nr. Fifth Ave.  See Map | Subway Directions

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