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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.
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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.
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I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!