Just when it seemed that another restaurant could not possibly wedge itself onto Main Street in Smithtown — where one can grab burgers, pad thai, tacos, steaks, lattes, lo mein, moussaka and banh mi within a six-block stretch — ramen has joined the regiment with the opening of Rakkii Ramen.
It is the third location of a growing chain based in Pennsylvania, and the first on Long Island, said a manager. As the name suggests, ramen ($12 to $15) is the central motif, with broths made in the open kitchen and fresh, wavy noodles supplied by a central location. Tonkotsu, shoyu, miso, spicy miso and curry ramen all make appearances, as does a version with vegetarian broth. The milky tonkostu ramen looks almost rococo, with chashu (pork belly), a marinated soft-boiled egg, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, copious scallions, a sheet of nori an a rosy-pink narutomaki fish cake. Rakkii can substitute gluten-free noodles in any ramen, and also produces two types of udon ($15), seafood and sukiyaki.
Besides noodles, the kitchen also cooks Japanese and Chinese-style appetizers (starting at $5) such as kara-age (fried chicken) and chashu bao buns; once the soft opening is over, there will also be donburi-style bowls with tuna or salmon. A lengthy list of cold and hot sake is joined by bubble tea, hot tea, wine and beer, and eaters can seal the meal with mochi ice cream or black-sesame panna cotta.
The long, narrow railroad-type space has a Japanese gastropub look (think brick walls, dark wood and a minimalist aesthetic) with an eating counter in the front, a cozy dining room with booths and large tables in the middle, and a bar and a few more tables in the back. Come spring, outdoor tables will appear on a back patio, as will live music, said the manager, who preferred not to be named.
It may be the first Rakkii Ramen on Long Island, but it's not the last, he added: A location will open in Farmingdale in coming months.
Rakkii Ramen is open daily for lunch and dinner at 97 E. Main St., Smithtown. 631-780-6500. rakkiiramen.com. Find parking in the back.