Raku is a brand new udon-ya, which has quietly opened up in the East Village’s Little Tokyo by the owners of Kura Sushi.
The kitchen at Raku is helmed by Norihiro Ishizuka (of Kura Sushi) and the menu offers appetizers, several bowls of udon and donburi’s too.
We tried a smattering of different items from across the menu. I wasn’t overly impressed by the appetizers. We tried an “Agedashi Tofu” which was lacking flavor in its sauce and the gyoza was just “meh”. The fried chicken was the best of the appetizers with a nice crispy exterior, which gave way to a juicy interior.
As for the Udon bowls, I though the noodles themselves, which are flown in from Japan, were really good. However I didn’t love the broths as much. The curry udon that we tried just didn’t pack a punch. The shrimp tempura udon fared much better with subtle flavoring in the broth and a superbly fried tempura, which complemented the chewiness of the noodles really well.
Raku offers a refreshing change from the ramen craze that has taken a hold of the city. The space that it is housed in is subtle and very Zen – it’s a perfect little udon oasis.
Here is some of what we tried:
Shrimp Tempura Udon