It's been what I like to call, Chicago Cold, in NYC the last few days. That kinda cold where the wind hits your face and gives you a Slurpee Brain Freeze so painful you wonder what the hell you're doing outside. Days like these were made for Men Kui Tei, a Ramen shop at 60 W 56th St.
I was introduced to Ramen in the Army and later in college made my own in a Mr Coffee machine. But that was nothing compared to what Men Kui Tei has to offer. Starting at $7.50 and max'ed out at $10, you get heaping bowls of al dente ramen, loads of broth and usually some sliced pork cut fat and juicy. A side of kimchi for $2.50 and an Ashai beer ($6), I am in affordable heaven. No small task in midtown.
The NY Times had a wonderful piece in the travel section on ramen shops in Tokyo. I always wondered why there were so many Japanese business men in Men Kui Tei. The Time's article explains ramen is an obsession in Japan. Kinda like traditional Ivy league clothing. Gotta love that. The article also mentions a number of Ramen Blogs of which, this one in English, stands out for its photography and dense detail. Another example of how blogs increase our learning curve in just about anything.
My place is tiny and when they turn the heat on - look out. It can get very warm. I suggest you sit in the front where, with the door opening a lot, you average out a comfortable temp. Small price to pay for a warm, steamy and oddly sensual experience. Maybe it's all that slurping?