Monday, March 23, 2015


As promised, the day has finally arrived when Rai Rai Ken has opened the doors to their new Harlem establishment.  This is the second location of the East Village pioneer that opened 15 years ago before most New Yorkers even knew what a ramen-ya was all about and is even more affordable.  We had the Shoyu Ramen this afternoon which is only $8 like most of the offerings and the more deluxe Miso option is only $9 before tax.  As can be seen by the above photos, this is definitely a noodle bar with high stool seating around the front window and the side wall.  The overall look of this new eatery by 133rd on Amsterdam Avenue is that of a 1950s ramen chain which is pretty darn charming  J-pop songs play in the background and the Japanese host is dressed in a white uniform jacket .

Guests pay first at the cashier after selecting from a menu that includes Karaage, pork buns and even vegetarian ramen.  Once the order is ready, everything appears on a lacquer tray within a plastic bowl which one usually receives with takeout meals.  Ceramic bowls are pretty much standard for ramen restaurants everywhere for dine in service so we hope this is just temporary.  As far as the Shoyu ramen goes, the flavor had the right balance that we have been looking for with a lighter broth, thick wavy noodles, a chunk of charshu roll, poached spinach, sliced pickled bamboo shoots, crisps nori and the traditional fishcake which was a welcoming sight.  At these prices, we probably will be here a couple times a week and look forward to trying some of the other options on the menu like the Curry Ramen.  Read more about Rai Rai Ken in our past post: LINK

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