Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rai Rai Ken

Rai Rai Ken – 214 E. 10th Street (Between 2nd/1st Avenue) – Japanese/Ramen

Located just off the main strip of Little Tokyo (once known as St. Marks), Rai Rai Ken is a name well-known to Ramen noodle fanciers. A small space, RRK is furnished simply with few decorations – the central feature being the long, weather beaten bar used to serve its patrons. Which is fine – because at RRK, the focus is on the food…and especially the soup.

Specializing in only a few dishes, RRK is best known for its Ramen noodle soup, available in three varieties (Shoyu/Soy Sauce, Shio/Seafood and Miso Based Broth.) Traditional appetizers/toppings for the soups are of course available – from Edamame soy beans to Kimchi (okay, so that’s Korean. Oh well.) Other forms of pasta are also available, including chilled noodles (Zha Jian Men), Soba and stuffed Gyoza dumplings. If noodles aren’t your thing, there’s even beef curry (though why go to RRK if not for the carbs?) (A warning to the vegetarian/vegan group…there ain’t much here that’s animal free, though word has it that they’ll whip up a water broth upon request.)

Though not dirt cheap, prices are reasonable, ranging around $7.00 for a huge serving of soup (enough to feed me twice.) As for the flavor? Well, the GG trip featured a serving of the Miso Ramen, which proved to be quite pleasant…with a mild, curry taste that complimented the noodles well. The Menma (marinated bamboo shoots) were meant to be eaten with the soup, but also proved tasty on their own.

Comfortable, and a nice oasis from the buzz of St. Marks, Rai Ken is a good place to know about – especially for anyone in search of a late night nosh.

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