At Mai Sushi, the pigfoot (tonkotsu) ramen is about half the price of Ippudo’s.
This week Counter Culture breezes into four (now three) fast food spots on East 41st Street in Midtown, the block running east of the New York Public Library’s main branch, constituting a kind of open-air Japanese food court. Here are some suggestions for the best things to try on the block.
Almost unbelievably, this pristine sushi assortment will set you back only $6.50, at Mai Sushi.
And how can this collection of three sandwiches (tuna salad, egg salad, and fried chicken cutlet) cost only $6.50 at Cafe Zaiya? (Share it with two friends for a cheap-eats miracle.)
The very fine katsudon at Sunrise Mart mires a pork cutlet in egg and caramelized onion, for sweetness, and places it tenderly over a bowl of white rice — the ultimate Japanese lunchtime dish.
One of Cafe Zaiya’s healthy and beguiling bentos, packaged for carryout and including a small plank of broiled salmon, pickles, edamame, nori rice, tiny tofu mix-up, and — odd man out — cupcake holder of American potato salad.