As I sat in my seat inside Rai Rai Ramen, I was talking with the server who said Rai Rai Ramen had a stand set up at the county food festival and that I could have been served my chosen dish there.

I smiled good-naturedly and replied that I had no idea that there was a stand set up at the food festival along Gay and Market Street. In truth though, I preferred to be sitting down out of the congestion of the crowded streets to enjoy my meal, especially since I was on a date.

In all honesty, dear reader, I have never written a restaurant review before, but I find it fitting that the first review I write for a restaurant be a venue of Japanese cuisine, namely, ramen. Well-known by students across the country as a cheap meal, ramen has exploded in popularity across the country in recent years, but rarely do you get the chance to enjoy an authentic bowl of one of the most popular staples of Japanese food. Thankfully, that was remedied by one of the most recent additions to the local restaurant scene: Rai Rai Ramen.

“A combination of bold spiciness, satisfying saltiness and a certain “kick” to the flavor make the dish worthwhile.“

For weeks since the place opened, I had been meaning to stop by, but I didn’t want to go alone. So, naturally, going out with a date gave me the chance to go.

Upon entering the establishment, I was at first taken aback by the lack of clientele for a venue that I had heard was so popular among West Chester residents, but in retrospect, I think it was comforting, being able to sit and enjoy a meal in peace since it was not yet the establishment’s busy hours. As for the atmosphere of the restaurant, I must admit that it lacked a kind of spark that I felt with other Asian food venues, such as Kooma, which can be hard to put into words. I suppose this is due in part to the interior design of the place, which I felt contained too much empty space and lacking in more eye-catching interior design.

I will admit however, that the food that I was served was marvelous, in both looks and taste! While I cannot speak for the rest of the menu since I haven’t tried everything, the spicy miso ramen was amazing! A combination of bold spiciness, satisfying saltiness and a certain “kick” to the flavor make the dish worthwhile.

As I was eating, I also noticed the inclusion of a kind of chili powder that I think gives the dish its signature kick that leaves the patron wanting seconds as soon as they are finished. It’s at moments like these that I wish I had a better knowledge of culinary practices, to better describe what other fantastical elements that were present in the dish. After finishing my meal and sipping on a cup of warm green tea, I felt entirely satisfied, so much so that I wish I had ordered more.

Rating: three out of four stars!

Kelly Baker is a fourth-year student majoring in English with minors in journalism and film criticism. KB819687@wcupa.edu.

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