You may not be exactly sure why Brittany Murphy giggled and cried uncontrollably over her bowl of noodle soup in “Ramen Girl.” You may be hungry and a bit chilly as the Fall weather hits and can't decide what to do about it. You may be saving up for a seat or two at the Yankee's next game. You may even be an unfortunate combination of all three.
Menchanko Tei is the solution. Just a quick subway trip to one of two midtown locations—one on 45th between Lex and 3rd, the other on 53rd between 5th and 6th—will solve all three dilemmas at once. These two cozy, bustling noodle houses provide diners with a variety of soul-warming, affordable soup options sumptuous enough to make anyone smile (if giggling isn't your style).
The main attraction is the namesake Menchanko soup. Swimming alluringly in a seafood dashi broth and served in gigantic pre-warmed bowls is a hearty pile of homemade ramen noodles cooked to al dente perfection (note: this is not your starving-college-student variety ramen). On top you'll find two whole shrimp, chicken, tofu, a salmon ball, a rice cake and vegetables. If you're nursing a sumo-style hunger, there is an entire side-list of even more wonderful, reasonably priced goodies to add to your soup, including eggs, kimchi or seaweed, to name a few. You can further personalize your soup with several different types of broth. There is a vegetarian version for those who prefer critter-less comfort, and the spicy miso Menchanko is sure to chase away the most deep-boned Fall chill.
The base price for this bowl of perfection? A whopping nine dollars. The menu boasts several other options if the Menchanko is not for you, such as the the more traditional Tonkotsu ramen (starting at $8.50) and a large list of appetizers and side dishes. And if you have opted to turn up the heat on any of your soup selections, you can tame the flame with an adult beverage from their large list of sakes, shochus, plum wines or beers: a whole pitcher of Kirin will set you back only $15. Be sure to check the walls for daily lunch, dinner and happy hour specials.
Crying over your soup may not be the best-received reaction, but happy slurping is always encouraged.