Update your 10-cent dorm staple in a soggy Styrofoam cup to Larchmont’s latest flavor bomb on Palmer Avenue. Ani Ramen House has now taken residency in the old burger joint MOOYAH’s place, serving up ingredients that are fresh as opposed to just freshman year. This is the New Jersey-heavy chain’s first Westchester location and the ninth overall, with another handful slated to open later this year, including one in Tarrytown.
Ani, meaning “older brother” in Japanese, calls upon the restaurant’s atmosphere of comfort and family — that is, if your older brother served decadent ramen, had a loft speckled with neon signs and a hand-painted mural, and was arguably the coolest person you knew.
The space is a disco ball for the senses, dazzling from every angle. Upon entry, diners gaze upon the bold and bright reds and blacks that make up the East Meets West mural designed by Rich Tu, of Nike and MTV pedigree. Slink all the way to the back of the space and read the story of Ani Ramen through a comic-book wrap, designed by pixelexperience, in the style of Japanese anime (echoing the hand-drawn version that adorned founding partner Luck Sarabhayavanija’s first location).
The dining room seats 70 among the manga and cozy booths, while the sleek bar top can account for 12. The restaurant offers both house-made and on-tap cocktails, with playful names such as the Sailor Moon (on tap; spiced whiskey, black rum, lemon, ginger beer) and such refreshing sips as the shiso cucumber sour (gin, curaçao, lemon, jalapeños, cucumber, and the Southeastern Asian herb shiso.)
The animation of the space is fed heartily by the richness of the food. Partner/Executive Chef Julian Valencia works from New Jersey’s own Sun Noodle ramen to build his luscious bowls, delicately layered with fresh vegetables and spices. The signature (and eponymous) bowl offers a ginger-energized dance party, with chopstick-tender pork belly and crunchy peanuts. Curated and specialty Japanese Izakaya small plates lend themselves to epicurean explorers. Two-bite, soy-glazed chicken bao buns are fluffy and flavorful, while the miso-and-sake-glazed wings have an audible and delectable crunch that will wipe all Buffalonian iterations from your mind.
Ani Ramen House
1943 Palmer Ave #7, Larchmont