Japanese: Menchanko Tei – CLOSED

Eating Out

Hello, is this thing on?

Oh hi, everyone!  My name is NoshGirl, and it’s been a week since my last blog post.  While the responsibilities of a full-time job and a lil’ side trip to NOLA (food pictures coming soon!) kept me from blogging as much as I’d like, I’m back, ya’ hear me? I’m baaaaack! Today I’d like to share a hidden find in Midtown – Menchanko Tei.

The storefront is a little nondescript, but what drew my eating buddy and me in was the promise of an authentic noodle dish that was the food of sumo wrestlers.  I mean come on, how could we resist that?

By the way, I had heard that sumo wrestlers are considered highly desirable by a sizable population of women in Japan – is this true?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Anyway, according to the menu, “Menchanko” originates from a combination of the words noodle (“men”) and sumo wrestler (“chanko”) and is a “unique sumo tradition.”  Enough about the history – here are the noodles:

Served in a pre-heated  cast iron bowl, the dish has chicken, shrimp, tofu, veggies, fishball and of course noodles.  Now I’m not sure if sumo wrestlers have surprisingly small appetites or my eating buddy that day (measuring in at a towering 5 feet 0 inches) was particularly ravenous, but this bowl of noodles was totally manageable.  Fifteen minutes later, it was history.  The broth was light, the ingredients fresh and the noodles staying.

I wasn’t feeling as sumo-inclined that day, so I ordered the Assari ramen, with pork slices, boiled egg, seaweed, bamboo shoots and scallion (first picture).  While the Assari couldn’t compare to my ramen favorites at Ippudo or Hide-Chan, this noodle bowl was still respectable.

I’m going with a 2-Apple rating for Menchanko Tei. It won’t blow your mind, but it’s a perfectly fine option if you find yourself in want of a cheap and quick lunch in Midtown.

The food of sumo wrestlers. Apparently.

Menchanko Tei
43 West 55th St. (btw 5th/6th Ave)

Ok for real – is the sumo wrestler attractiveness thing true?


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  • Gloria
    April 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    This look yummy, Im happy you come back! gloria

  • melinda
    April 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    The noodles look delicious! I'm having a hard time adjusting to normal food after so much gumbo in NOLA!

  • Kim
    April 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I love all kinds of noodles! I wish we had a place like this where I live . . . guess I'll have to keep going back to New York!

  • Alice
    April 19, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Intriguing fact about the "growl" worthiness of sumo wrestlers! I too want to know the real deal!

  • Chic 'n Cheap Living
    April 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Mmm they look delicious!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  • Sandra
    April 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Welcome back..this looks so warm and delicious! Great presentation and photos too! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Kristin
    April 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Yay! Its so fun to read reviews of real Japanese food. I've never been q fan of chanko, I'm more of a shabu shabu or sukiyaki girl myself. The flavors of chance are somewhat subdued compared to those two, IMHO. But you should know that chanko is part of a much larger meal for sumo – they'll also consume several bowls of rice, pickled veggies, maybe even another dish such as tonkatsu. But trying chanko is an interesting experience, isn't it? I think the attraction to sumo wrestlers is the same as baseball players, football players, etc – rich and famous men 🙂

  • Jessica
    April 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Yum!!! Looks delicious.

  • BigAppleNosh
    April 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Kristin, thanks for the background! I KNEW that sumo wrestlers must eat more than this!! 🙂

  • Try Anything Once Terri
    April 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Yummy! Glad you are back.

  • Cathleya
    April 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    If you marry a sumo wrestler you can get as big as you want and will still look smaller than them! 🙂 Looks so yummy! Ramen around here is downright terrible. Will just have to come back to NYC soon!

  • Celia
    April 19, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    OMG you made my day: I love Menchanko-Tei, but it was close the last couple of times I stopped by. So happy it's done with construction and back open!

    April 19, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Oh I've never been! And can't wait to see the NOLA pix 🙂

  • JHopkins
    April 20, 2011 at 12:13 am

    YUM! I walked past this place on my last trip to NY and thought about it…but never stopped in. That bowl you ate looks delicious!

  • Jen
    April 20, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Been there a couple times! It is definitely a convenient ramen stop when in midtown.

  • lavenderpug
    April 24, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    dude, if it's not as good as ippudo, then i'm not having it. ippudo spoils everyone who tries it.

  • butter
    May 2, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Not to mention that you can usually can walk in to Menchanko & eat, unlike some other put-your-name-on-a-clipboard-&-glare-hungrily-at-luckier-slurpers-sitting-at-the-bar establishments.

    oh, and one should never judge an eater's capacity by height. just sayin'.