Great Neck has seen a cleaver-sharp uptick in the number of Asian restaurants that have opened since 2017 (among them are New Fu Run, Saaho Village, Ippon and Teinei Ya), but one of the newest, 4-month-old Ren Wen Noodle Factory, has closed — at least for the time being.
Unlike the others, Ren Wen didn’t hew to any specific Asian culinary tradition. The sleek, contemporary eatery was devoted to “evolving noodle culture,” encompassing Japanese ramen and soba as well as various types of Chinese noodles. The pasta was deployed in imaginative dishes that blended Eastern and Western traditions. “Three little pigs” ramen, for example, featured pork belly, pulled bacon, spinach, mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted corn in a chicken-pork broth; “Grand’s short rib” noodle bowl, with house-cut “grandma” wheat noodles, Chinese celery, cilantro and pickled mushrooms was vaguely reminiscent of tagliatelle Bolognese. There were also dumplings and small plates.
On a visit soon after it opened, I was impressed by Ren Wen’s ambitious concept, but the execution sometimes fell short — many of the dishes lacked precisely the oomph and soul that noodle lovers are seeking.
A sign on the restaurant’s door says, “Thank you for your support since our grand opening. Based on your feedback, we will be temporarily closing this location to readjust our restaurant to better meet your needs.”