Why you should eat at Kenka NYC

As close to going to Japan as you can get in NYC

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As probably one of the most recognized Japanese restaurants in the East Village, Kenka NYC is the best restaurant to go to when you’re looking to eat on a budget. Umeki Yuji, owner of punk-rock clothing emporium Search & Destroy, which is located above Kenka, opened this restaurant to offer quality Japanese food for everyone.

There is always a line outside Kenka which is usually a really good sign in New York City. I personally hate waiting for a table, but at Kenka NYC it was more than worth it. Here’s how dining at Kenka works. You have to leave your name outside the restaurant on a list and just hang outside the place and make new friends. Once you get inside, enjoy the special decor reminding of the 1970s Japanese pink cinema adds.

Kenka NYC: Where Tarantino should film his next movie

Kenka NYC has its own very particular charm and atmosphere. There are vintage pachinko machines, vintage movie posters, and bathrooms covered in graffiti. Oddly there is an empty interior courtyard with a decoration you should simply see yourself. This place could be interesting for directors like Quentin Tarantino to film their next movie.

Anything but ordinary: The menu at Kenka NYC

Besides the very special decoration, vibes and ambiance the food is really good as well. Kenka NYC is reasonably priced compared to most other places in the area too. You can get a full entree for $6.50, beers go for $1.50, pitchers for $8.50 and desserts for $3. Don’t expect sushi rolls and chicken teriyaki because at Kenka NYC you will get standard Japanese pub food.

My favorite? The souvenirs before leaving the restaurant

Simply choose from yakisoba, yakitori, takoyaki, ramen, gyoza, sashimi, fried shrimps and grilled beef tongue. Or barbecued cow intestines, miso-soy-basted balls of grilled rice, tonkatsu and Japanese curry.

Before leaving don’t forget to take your souvenirs. With the check, you’ll get colorful sugar to make your own cotton candy in front of the restaurant.

About the author

Calling New York City home is still pretty surreal. After moving here 5 years ago, I still see it as my dream life. Ever since I’ve been exploring this amazing city for Loving New York I’ve grown to love it even more. I love hooking all of you up with the inside scoop, top attractions, events and everything in between. I'm your go-to person for the hidden gems, best restaurants and the absolute best things to do in the city that never sleeps.

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