Roc-N-Ramen opened just a few days ago in downtown New Rochelle, but word is already out. Passers-by are sticking their head into the tiny shop adjacent to Monroe College and the New Roc City shopping complex, others are already establishing themselves as regulars.
With its a long wooden bar and few other small tables, Roc-N-Ramen mirrors some of the cool noodle shops in Manhattan and Tokyo. But ramen purists might scoff initially at some of the fusion specials. Owner Wayne Carrington (a cousin to Alvin Clayton of Alvin & Friends) is incorporating his Trinidadian background into the dishes, with oxtail and pulled jerk pork ramen.
“The first day we had the oxtail special we sold out!” says Carrington, a former New York City police officer who has his teenage daughters working alongside him. “So I went out and got 30 more pounds.”
Carribean specials aside, the base menu touches on all the traditional ramen shop basics. Appetizers include boiled and salted edamame pods, pork gyoza, steamed pork buns and seaweed salad. Then choose from four types of ramen: shio, shoyu, tonkotsu or vegetable. Sake is served by the glass, as well as Japanese beers like Sopporo and Kirin. On our first trip, we loved the shoyu ramen, soy-based soup chock full of braised pork belly, crunchy sweet corn, scallions, soft boiled egg, bamboo shoots and silky noodles. Take out is available.
This is Carrington’s first restaurant. Inspiration came after he and his girls watched a movie about ramen and then tried to make it themselves at home with ingredients from H-Mart. For two years he visited some of the most popular ramen shops in New York, like Ippudo and Totto Ramen, seeking out advice from experts like Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen and Keizo Shimamoto, creator of the ramen burger.
“I did my research, really dug deep,” says Carrington. “I want people to walk in and feel like they’re in Japan.”
Go: 19 Anderson St., 646-455-9195, rocnramen914.com.