New Location of Rai Rai Ken Is Open

Stephen Rex Brown

No more bumping elbows with the person next to you while gobbling noodles. The new location of Rai Rai Ken is open and roughly double the size of the previous space just a couple doors down on East 10th Street between First and Second Avenues.

Acting manager Yo Katsuse said that the restaurant was in soft-opening mode, and that the official opening date is April 29. “We need to get used to operating in a place this size,” said Mr. Katsuse, 35.

The previous location, which has now closed, only had room for 15 seats at the counter facing the kitchen. The new Rai Rai Ken still has a counter — a feature popular with many customers, Mr. Katsuse said — but also has tables for larger groups. All told, the place can seat 31 people.

New dishes like pork buns and a jellyfish salad with bean curd will be added to the menu. A vegetable fried rice with pickled ginger, mango pudding and a shio wonton ramen (noodle soup with shrimp and pork dumplings) have already been added. Mr. Katsuse said the restaurant would soon stop using noodles imported from Japan and instead buy fresh ones made locally.

The space amounts to a major upgrade for the noodle joint, which opened in its cozy (to put it nicely) former location 11 years ago. “Winter is our busiest time and we always had long lines outside in the cold,” Mr. Katsuse said. “We always wanted a bigger space.”

Rai Rai Ken, 218 East 10th Street near Second Avenue.