While downtown denizens continue to await the opening of Ivan Ramen on Clinton Street (“Oh so soon,” Ivan Orkin tweeted on Friday, “Waiting for mr co[n] ed and then it’s a go!”) a Chinese-Japanese noodle joint has opened to fill the void. Not that there ever was a ramen void in the East Village.
Cho-Ko — which bills itself as a Japanese restaurant but lets its Chinese roots show in its seasonal specials — has opened right next to another Japanese newcomer, Sushi Zayy, on First Avenue, and is currently offering free sodas with any purchase as well as frequent customer cards that let you get your 11th bowl free. With just a handful of tables and unfinished wooden walls, the tiny box of a restaurant has a cute treehouse vibe.
As you can see from the menu, below, the ramen selection is similar to what you might find at Rai Rai Ken or Setagaya, but there are some Chinese touches in the ma bo tofu ramen and the zhajiangmian.
Meanwhile, Red Pepper — the Sichuan joint that replaced a short-lived ramen spot on East Sixth Street — has closed. So much for Satan rolls.
Cho-Ko Japanese Restaurant, 59 First Ave., bet. Third and Fourth Sts.; 212-388-0885; open Sun. through Thu. from noon until 10 p.m. and Fri. and Sat. till 2 a.m.