25 St Marks Pl, New York, NY | Directions 1000340.729054 -73.988499
Mon-Thu, 6pm-2am; Fri-Sat, 6pm-4am; Sun, noon-midnight
Neighborhoods: East Village, Downtown
Incredibly Strange Place – I was brought here by a group of friends just as the place opened at 6:00PM. At least 15 people were waiting outside, until their name was called from a list. You enter the restaurant through sliding glass doors and its like stepping into a fantasy world. The seats are very low, and obviously of poor quality. Also, the tables are cubes, so you cannot fit your legs underneath. As someone who is six feet tall, this was VERY uncomfortable.
My friend who raved about this place ordered the jumbo curry, which is free if you finish it within 25 minutes I think. He gave it a good try, but did not succeed, and had to pay $25. What a rip off for a tray of curry rice and little meat. The rest of us ordered small dishes like ramen and spring rolls. I thought the food was terrible, but it was inexpensive. Definitely come here for the cheap drinks.
One word to describe the atmosphere...WEIRD! There are breasts, and "private parts" covering the walls. On the back of the menu was a list of rules, including "no s e x in the restaurant", and warning of a "$20 cleaning fee" if you were to hurl inside or out front. Obviously a lot of heavy drinking goes on at this place. There was a small smoking patio in the back, near the bathrooms (which are marked by genitalia, not Male/Female signs).
I guess the best part is savoring the atmosphere, and the free do-it-yourself cotton candy at the machine outside. I probably would not return.
Amazingly fun, dirty, and cheap! – This is one of my fave places in NYC to turn my brain off, drink and eat Japanese student food. I always order veggie dishes (Age Dashi Tofu, Cucumber and Miso, Rice Ball with Miso, Spring Rolls) because the meat scares me here, but there are so many great things to drink that the food is merely there to help you get through it without getting sick. I love the little chairs, the inattentive waitstaff, the offensive, mysogynistic imagery and the cotton candy machine at the end. This place is magical.
Loud, fun, drunken Japanese picnic – I've been here twice and had fun both times... the wait is long, the chairs are uncomfortable, the music gets to some people- but between the cheap food and drinks you end up walking out pleased with the experience. The sake is very good- we had one of the cheaper bottles which still was great. They have interesting entree chokes as well as menus with some funny pictures on them ;) The food isn't amazing but it is great for the prices. A fun place to get drunk with a group of friends!
Great sake!! Huge oysters!! – I was surprised to see such bad reviews of Kenka. It's been voted best cheap eats restaurant... and that's what it is a 'cheap eat', and a very good one at that. I actually loved it! The oysters are huge and fresh, the nigori sake (the milky/unfiltered kind) was truly divine, and the squid-legs are very tasty and crispy. It's not the typical NY sushi place... it has a student vibe, it's fun, it's japanese in a young-laid-back kind of way. Loved it.. have been there several times and will keep on going as it makes me feel young!
This place is for drinking, but the food isn't that bad – Kenka is definitely a place for drinking. Cheap CHEAP beer and pitchers are usually what attracts everyone to this place. I personally like it when it isn't super crowded, which isn't often. The wait can stink and the price minimum per person sometimes doesn't have any warrant, but you can't get much cheaper when drinking on St. Marks. The food is actually not that bad and is also cheap, though not as cheap as it alcoholic counterpart. Very late night hours, which is another perk. Overall, just a really well lit bar with tons of younger people. If you're looking for a great dining experience, then don't wait on line for Kenka.
cheap beer and OK food. But... – ... it's LOUD as hell and cramped. Sometimes the menu and tables are sticky - yuck! The food isn't bad; the grilled mackerel (I love mackerel) and other Japanese tapas are passable. But one of my friends got sick the day after eating a giant raw oyster there. Too many young kids, and the oldie Japanese music they play is reminiscent of World War II propaganda.
The best spot for a cheap beer – No one goes to Kenka because they want great food. If you are looking for a Japanese taste sensation, go to any of the other hundreds of Japanese spots in the city.
However, if you are looking for cheap drinks in a fun, amusing environment, pull up a tiny chair and rest for a spell.
I think the prices have gone up a little since I started frequenting Kenka and the pints are a little smaller but for $1.50 Japanese beer, can you really complain? I didn't think so.
Kenka is a fun spot to visit with your friends for a quick drink and snacks. It definitely never disappoints me.
great small japanese place – this place is really awesome to go after being out all nite, or pretty much whenever. They have really good yakitori and gyoza, but the funny thing about this place is the free cotton candy machine in the front.. this place is packed at night, partly because its pretty small
An awesome eatery – This place is great. You can go in, drop about $20 bucks, and get a ton of great food and sake. It's got a lot of Japanese cafe style variety. A great place to drop by for an hour or so.
so noisy it hurts – the food and beer here is super cheap, plus you get free cotton candy. however, you pay the price with the horrible atmosphere. 1) the japanese chanting plays over loudspeaker that is faced directly into your ears, 2) the wait is long because nyu-ers looking for cheap food/beer are always mingling around, and 3) the seats are uber-uncomfortable because they're kind of low, but still high enough so that your knees can't fit under the table.
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