Mabo, no dofu: Though perhaps best known as a ramen restaurant, Men Kui Tei also serves a handful of Chinese-rooted dishes. Mabo nasu (about $8), for one, begins with the familiar base of well-seasoned minced pork — very likely, the sauce is inflected with miso or other ingredients not traditional in China — and adds mild chunks of Japanese eggplant. It's simple comfort food for a cool evening.
Men Kui Tei
63 Cooper Square (St. Mark's Pl.-7th St.), Manhattan
Also at 60 West 56th St. (Fifth-Sixth Aves.)