Note: Our writer was invited to visit Ani Ramen and received a complimentary meal.
One of the hottest ramen spots in New Jersey, Ani Ramen, opened a second location, in Jersey City, in April. Now the ramen obsessed can now SLURP. SIP. REPEAT. (Ani Ramen’s by-now-famous slogan) in a location that boasts 2,000 square feet of space, with 110 seats.
Ani Ramen’s Jersey City location serves lunch, dinner, and late-night selections, featuring its six house-made signature ramen dishes with custom-made noodles by Sun Noodle. The Jersey City menu also offers some of the side dishes and add-ons made famous at the original location (in Montclair) as well as some fun “midnight menu” items.
This location boasts a full bar with reasonably-priced cocktails, sake, wine, and beer. The beverage program was developed in collaboration with Kenta Goto (Bar GOTO), an award-winning mixologist and 2017 James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist. Ani Ramen Jersey City offers the largest Japanese whisky selection in the United States with blend and single malts up to 25 years old.
Chef/Partner Julian Valencia developed the original menu served in Montclair and Jersey City, and he, along with Chef Chris Arturo, are overseeing the Jersey City location’s kitchen operations.
Much like he did at the Montclair outpost, notable artist and New Jersey native Rich Tu created a series of mural walls featuring an east-meets-west theme, the Ani family motif, and playful pop culture details.
I was invited to dine at the Jersey City location recently and enjoyed it just as much as I enjoy the Montclair location…but we had incredible drinks—a definite plus. The drink I sample is the shiso cucumber sour: gin, Cointreau, lemon, chili, cucumber and shiso. The drink is refreshing, packs a punch and the exotic citrus notes compliment the spicy ramen nicely.
Our shared starters were the double-fried chicken wings two ways (with seven-spice dry rub and a sake soy glaze), pork buns with spicy miso mayo, shrimp buns, and tempura shrimp with sake soy glaze. The wings were outstanding, with their ultra-crunchy skin and their juicy meat—truly crave-worthy. The buns are served two to an order on appropriately pillowy soft steamed buns. My favorites were the classic pork belly buns, the rest of the group favored the shrimp version. Both very good options.
For our entrées, we all opted for ramen—after all, that’s truly why we visit this popular place. I selected the #6, the Ani Ramen, with traditional pork bone broth, pork belly, and a soft boiled egg. I admit that when I first had the pork broth at Ani Ramen’s Montclair location, after it first opened, I thought it needed some work. The version I had in Jersey City was right on point, with the extra porky flavors I look for with this type of ramen—well done. As I mentioned earlier, the noodles are by Sun Noodle, and they’re some of the best available on the market: tender with a good amount of chewiness.
For a fun and affordable night out in Jersey City, be sure to visit Ani Ramen.
Ani Ramen House
218 Newark Avenue