Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love a bowl of ramen on a lonely Saturday night? Strolling in East Village can be a good exercise, but it’s definitely missing the fun. My sole reason for going there was the ramen, and a ramen place I need to find ! Momofuku is a famous ramen spot that I reviewed ( and raved about), so I felt like it was time to give other shops a try. I ended up going for Rai Rai Ken Ramen, which is situated just around the corner on 10th St. So there you go, a:
Rai Rai Ken Ramen Review
The restaurant’s exterior exudes a “Chinese Gourmet” kinda feel, which is hardly negative but quite disproportionate with their Japanese theme. In contrast to David Chang’s Momofuku, there’s hardly a single person having to wait to get inside. There were plenty of empty seats when I came, which seems to always be the case.
The store’s huge for a ramen place so it’s super hard to miss
Inside: spacious and quiet, maybe too quiet..
I got the counter seat just to grab a few photos of the chefs preparing my ramen, ended up taking random photos of the furniture instead 🙂
From left to right: chili powder, pepper, chili oil (yessss), white rice vinegar (?) and dark vinegar
Brief recap of their menu. Typical ramen and moderate pricing compared to other ramen-ya(s).
I ordered Shoyu Ramen with solf-boiled egg, which costs me an extra $1.5 . The ramen comes with a slice of chasiu pork, 3 GENEROUS halves of shoyu tamago (egg), bamboo shoots, narutomaki (white and pink fish cake), seaweed and … spinach (???). I get the other ingredients, but wished to the ramen god that spinach never made it way into anyone’s (or at least my) bowl of ramen.
No, Rai Rai Ken Ramen, just no.
Although this bowl of shoyu ramen nicely satisfies my noodle craving, it barely does anything else. The noodle was nice and chewy, but the spinach-smelling broth destroys every bit of my appetite. I tried my best to avoid slurping up the soup, hating the weird sweetness that doesn’t seem to have come from cooking down animal bones. The taste actually reminds me of Chinese wonton noodle soup, which is far superior for their lack of spinach as a flavor-exterminator. (By now you might have detected my weird dislike for this as a ramen topping)
Rai Rai Ken ‘s Shoyu Ramen was a big disappointment despite its initial promising look. I’ve seen quite a few positive reviews about their shoyu ramen on Yelp, so I wonder if it’s just a matter of personal preference. Anyway, I’d rather have stayed in line to get into Momofuku, which offers higher quality for approximately the same amount.
The restaurant offers a stamp program, but too bad I’m not coming back
Phewww. I actually finished it without touching the soup
Rai Rai Ken Ramen
218 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003