Back in 2021 during the height of the pandemic, three friends decided to join the Island’s poke craze and opened Maui Poke in Commack, an elevated poke bar and bubble teashop. Those same friends, who met in a ramen shop in China, have launched their second venture, a ramen shop in Farmingdale.
Kokyou Ramen sits in a nondescript shopping center on Broadhollow Road that also houses a Dollar Tree, a Five Guys and a liquor store. The minimalist restaurant boasts high ceilings with Japanese lanterns, and is bathed in a palate of neutral tones and blond wood. The menu is straightforward with just 10 appetizers, five donburi rice bowls and seven types of ramen.
Ramen is the star here, served in mismatched ceramic bowls loaded with savory bits and slick with fiery (optional) chili oil. Multiple broth bases are available, not just the familiar tonkotsu (pork bone), here a creamy, elegant stock that feels less dependent on salt, than “the low and slow simmer of the pork,” explained Ting Chen, who co-owns Kokyou (and Maui Poke) with Chu Qiu and Min Wang.
Whether you are a classic tonkotsu fan ($15.95), or favor a miso or spicy twist, all are served with chewy noodles, jammy eggs, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and in the latter two, wood ear mushrooms. Secondary broths include a chicken dashi, a tom yum pork and shrimp broth inspired by the Thai soup, a pork and beef broth ($17.95) made with spicy short rib, and a vegan option derived from veggies and coconut milk and loaded with tofu.
There are traditional starters like edamame, pork and chicken buns ($9), gyoza, takoyaki ($8) — crispy octopus dumplings — or chicken wings ($11), which are brined for 48 hours and fried in a tempting buttermilk batter. And if you’re feeling ramen-averse, five donburi rice bowls include curried chicken katsu, pork, beef, grilled shrimp, and a decadent chicken katsu ($14.95) in a shareable portion for kids who haven’t embraced ramen yet.
Wash it all down with a mango bubble tea ($5.95) or kumquat jasmine fruit tea, but don’t sleep on the strawberry mochi.
Kokyou Ramen, 2263 Broadhollow Rd., Farmingdale, 631-888-3773, kokyouramen.com. Open Monday to Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sunday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.