At the bottom of the food jdorama rankings are shows like Kamogawa Shokudo, Saigo no Restaurant and Kodoku Gurume. At the top are quality shows like Shinya Shokudo and Osen. Otoko Meshi rests in rarefied company just below the top shows.
The only reason Otoko Meshi doesn't reach must watch level is just that it doesn't have enough must watch episodes to make it. I would say episode 7 and 9 are my favourites. Its not that the rest of the episodes are bad, they are actually good and there are no bad episodes.
Otoko Meshi does three things really well. First, it knows how to put food in the story and connect it to the story in a way that doesn't feel forced. Second is it knows how to make you root for the characters. Lastly, you get to see the characters grow and the dialogue to express their growth feels more natural than your usual shows.
Very watchable series for me. This is truly the year of good shows that are just below must watch and I couldn't be happier.