Ani Ramen Debuts in Jersey City with Cocktail Menu by Star Mixologist, Kenta Goto

Montclair’s Ani Ramen House is ready for its Jersey City debut and the food won’t be the only star at its Newark Avenue outpost.

For help with Ani Ramen’s Japanese-style cocktail menu, owner Luck Sarabhayavanija turned to New York star mixologist, Kenta Goto.

Goto — who earned his stripes working a 7-year stint at New York’s Pegu Club — is renowned for his immaculately prepared cocktails. His namesake Japanese cocktail bar in the Lower East Side was recently named a 2017 James Beard Foundation semifinalist for best cocktail program.

“Goto has created four highballs and four signature cocktails for us,” says Sarabhayavanija. As bar consultant for Ani Ramen, Goto’s cocktails will showcase a variety of Japanese ingredients such as yuzu, plum, shiso and calpico.

In addition to the cocktails, Ani Ramen Jersey City will also offer an impressive collection of rare Japanese whiskeys, including a 21-year and 25-year Suntory Yamazaki.

Destined for Jersey City

Before opening in Montclair, Sarabhayavanija had his eye on downtown Jersey City.

“We actually looked into Jersey City first at the end of 2013, but we couldn’t find the space,” he says. “We looked at Sushi Tango, The Hot Spot place — we even looked at Rainbow. We were searching for a long time.”

So Sarabhayavanija put Jersey City on hold and in 2014 opened in Montclair, which he describes as the food capital of New Jersey — not only for the amount of restaurants, but for the amount of industry chefs who live in the New Jersey town.

“We want to exceed Jersey City’s expectations.”

“After Ani Ramen Montclair started running on its own, I still wanted to come to Jersey City.” So Sarabhayavanija returned to Jersey City and struck gold when he came across a former chiropractic clinic with an outdoor patio.

Outdoor Summertime Dining

Ani Ramen House Jersey City will feature an outdoor courtyard with a yakitori menu that will change daily based on what’s in season. The courtyard will also offer a wide selection of sake by the can, glass, or bottle.

“Anything that makes you think summertime and backyard BBQ we want to offer back there,” says Sarabhayavanija. The courtyard — which can accommodate between 35 to 40 people — will open in May.

Meanwhile, the restaurant’s interior — which features murals by artist and New Jersey native Rich Tu — was designed with the izakayas of Tokyo as inspiration.

“Anything that makes you think summertime and backyard BBQ we want to offer back there.”

“Most izakayas and ramen places in Japan have a nice, dark feel. You come out of work and it’s an escape from the outside. So we put the Tokyo subway street maps on the window to block out the sunlight after 5 pm.”

Pork Buns, Ramen, & a Late Night Menu

Ani Ramen House Jersey City will feature a similar menu as its Montclair location with executive chef Julian Valencia — who is also partner of the restaurant’s Montclair outpost — heading up the kitchen. The restaurant will get fresh, custom noodles from Sun Noodles.

Dinner and a late night menu will be offered 7 days a week and lunch will be served on weekends.

On Fridays and Saturdays, customers will be able to order food as late as 2 am. “You can walk up here at 1:45 am on a Friday or Saturday night and get our ramen, our pork buns, or you can get our small plates,” says Sarabhayavanija.

“We want to exceed Jersey City’s expectations.”

Ani Ramen House Jersey City will open Monday, April 24.


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