Adventures in Eating & Cooking
I am sooo envious of NYU kids for having so many Japanese food options in St. Mark’s Place. One of these places is Menkui-Tei, conveniently located next to a Cafe Zaiya so that one can switch between ramen and bentos.
Eating family-style with Lin Loo and Fatass Buddy, we got two bowls of ramen and an unimpressive katsu-curry. Well the curry was delicious, which is usually the case unless someone REALLY screws up. However, the pork tenderloin katsu was rather tough with the panko flaking off. I suspect this is because they used frozen pre-made or store-bought katsu and hastily heated it up on the spot.
The Menkui Ramen was pretty good. The broth was meaty and overly salty, but resulted in yummy flavored noodles. The slices of soft, fatty pork were tender and aromatic enough.
We all liked the Tonkotsu Ramen better since the broth was less salty. It was also richer and had a slightly thicker consistency. In exchange, the noodles lost some flavor but they were still pretty chewy and sumptuous. The meaty pork, sprouts, and bamboo shoots were the same: a delightful combination for a hearty bowl of ramen!
After much indecisiveness and pushing the decision-making responsibility onto each other like hot potato, we finally agreed to go to Chikalicious for dessert.
There we split a Deluxe Green Tea Shaved Ice, which was fantastic! The ice was much softer and smoother than Taiwanese shaved ice and pat bing soo, which was a total win. And it wasn’t too sweet, flavored with bittersweet matcha. Sweet azuki beans ringed around the mountain of shaved ice, completing the traditional Asian pairing of green tea and red bean. After digging through a layer of shaved ice, we were pleasantly surprised with a dollop of soft-serve vanilla ice cream. The light creaminess of the ice cream was perfect, serving as sugar and milk for the green tea!
In addition, I tried the Macaron Ice Cream Sorbet Sandwich, which was sort of average. I approved of the sorbet’s rich dark chocolateyness but was a bit dismayed by the wafer cookie part of the sandwich. It was a little too chewy and heavy for my taste. The strong chocolate masked most of the cookie’s flavor.
Fatass Buddy’s Eclair Ice Cream Sandwich was quite something though. The vanilla ice cream stuffed inside was pretty typical grade-A soft-serve, but the best part was the eclair. It’s a misnomer since the eclair had a consistency more like a crunchy cookie cream puff than an actual eclair pastry. However, this interesting not-eclair-ness was what made the sandwich so great. That, and the dripping ganachey chocolate syrup of course!