O.G. ramen-ya Rai Rai Ken opened its first outpost beyond Little Tokyo yesterday way uptown. The Harlem location has a retro 1950's noodle bar vibe, with hosts in white jackets and J-pop playing in the background, according to Harlem + Bespoke. Orders are placed with a cashier and delivered to diners at their selected cherry red stools that line the ramen counter. Noodles come cheap here (around $8-$9 for a fully decked out order), though they come in plastic, not ceramic bowls. After all, as Eater critic Robert Sietsema explained recently, Rai Rai Ken serves "some of the unfussiest ramen in town."
Harlem is going through somewhat of a noodle growth spurt. DNAinfo points out that Rai Rai is the third bougie noodle shop to open nearby since the New Year, after Nabe Harlem and The Handpulled Noodle.