[Updated from 2008 review]
The best tonkotsu ramen (now $7.50) in NYC, as well as a great yakitori menu and okonomiyaki ($6.75, below) made to satisfy. I am not really a yakitori guy, I prefer my meat-on-a-stick in other varieties, but the throngs of happy eaters prove me otherwise. The ramen noodles are admittedly not of the highest quality, but the broth more than makes up for it when it is done so perfectly.
On a recent visit, I grabbed the specials menu and ordered the taisho kakuni ($8, above), and was absolutely blown away. Apologies for the dark photo, but in person this beauty amazes with a tender layer of pork belly underneath a fatty layer of pork belly. Once you figure out how to pull it apart with your chopsticks, it will disappear from the table promptly. The fatty oils make the perfect dipping sauce.
This is a great restaurant and a fantastic and cheap place to bring your guests, good Japanese but authentically New York. The servers run back and forth with dishes piled on their arms, the chefs in the front greet you like family. The atmosphere is very hustled, but very friendly at the same time.
9 St. Marks Place, New York NY