Rai Rai Ramen (a.k.a. Sapporo) [East Brunswick]


(Evelyn C. Leeper) #1

The ramen are good, they have a big selection, and they offer low-sodium broth. However, they are also considerably more expensive than, say, Rayaki in Cherry Hill (e.g., Curry Ramen is $10.50 at Rayaki and $13.95 at Rai Rai). By big selection, I mean that Rai Rai has about 30 different ramen, while Rayaki has abut ten. Rai Rai also has non-ramen meals (including a half dozen Taiwanese dishes), and more side dishes.

(Basically, Rai Rai is more a real restaurant, while Rayaki is a quick ramen place.)

I had the Butter Corn Ramen–definitely had a butter flavor, which seems very non-Japanese to me, but there it is. Mark had the Chicken Katsu Curry Ramen (the Katsu comes on the side), also a good flavor broth. We both got low-sodium which meant the broths were not overpowered by salt and had a more delicate flavor than is common.

Like I said, the ramen were good, but pricy. (Mark compared his to the pho he gets at Pho Da Nang–a big bowl of soup with grilled pork on the side. The Pho is $7.95.) It’s possible that someone with a more refined taste than ours would say Rai Rai is worth it.

This is apparently the third in the chain (others in North Brunswick and West Chester PA).

(They have two take-out menus; the one with Kanji seems to think that yellow print on a white background is readable. It isn’t.)


#2

I tend to be a purist when coming to Japanese ramen restaurants. When I look at a menu with ramen and udon from all regions of Japan, with Korean cuisine (Kim Chee) and Chinese Dan Dan noodles, wanton, Taiwanese noodles pork bun, omelette, gyoza and even fried intestine. Can they specialise in all these domains?


(Elizabeth Ray) #3

I haven’t been to the East Brunswick location, but we have been to the N Brunswick location many times. The Mochiko chicken is the best thing on the menu there, and worth the trip. The Japanese fried rice with little bits of fish cake (which you can get with a smaller ramen bowl as part of a set) is awesome: little bits of fish cake and picked ginger make it special). The ramen is okay but pricey and not outstanding. However, the owners were smart, and established their business at a time when there was no competition. The restaurant was dearly in need of a renovation and was never busy; I’d go for lunch and there would be maybe 2 or 3 other tables.

Fast forward to a fire and extended closure to rebuild: now the place is hopping, and the wait is crazy (for central NJ). Good for them… the guy that runs the place is great, but now they have more competition so it will be interesting to see how things shake out.