Ramen being the new trend, I asked around if people knew some good places that I did not know and my co-worker David came up with Rai Rai Ken in the East Village. So here we are, on our way to that restaurant. We passed by Ippudo that is so far one of my favorites for ramen (see the review of Ippudo here): as usual, there were plenty of people lining outside, waiting for a table. We arrived at the address and then I saw, at first, that the restaurant was closed! What a shame!
Then I realized that they relocated 2 numbers down the street! Such a relief! Well, you know how it is: you have a plan you are excited about (yes, eating ramen is not earth shattering, but still!), and then it falls flat!
We entered the place that feels kind of zen with its wood all over. I like the concept of most of the ramen restaurants I went so far where you can sit at the counter and watch the kitchen.
The place was not that crowded, contrary to all the other ramen places we went to, but we were ready to give it a try!
So, we started off with the pork buns:
I really liked it : the pork was perfectly cooked and moist and had just enough fat (it was not like Totto Ramen that was mainly fat!). The buns were soft and did their job in allowing me to eat that dish without ending up with sauce on my pants...The pork buns had a lot of flavors accentuated by the particular taste of the hoisin sauce. It was definitely a splendid appetizer!
Jodi ordered the vegetarian miso ramen:
It is a soy bean base broth with fried bean curd and vegetables. She asked, as usual, for a soft boil egg.
On my side, I ordered the curry noodle soup:
It was composed of: pork and chicken broth, in a curry based soup topped with roasted pork, boiled egg, scallion and seaweed.
The presentation of the soups was fantastic: colorful with the egg (half for me???) standing out! The broth of the vegetarian miso ramen tasted and looked more like a curry infused broth than a miso one. The bean curd was pretty good, especially after being left in the broth for a bit.
The curry broth was good, but not the best I had so far. It had nice bold flavors for sure. I think the star of the dish was the pork that was here again well cooked and tender.
Last, were the noodles: good and cooked al dente so they can continue to cook in the very hot soup.
So, it was good: not the best I ever had, but a good alternative if you cannot get a seat at Ippudo.
Enjoy (I did)!
And remember: I just want to Eat!