PEEKSKILL, N.Y.-- The Peekskill restaurant scene has been getting buzz throughout Westchester, but one thing was lacking: a Japanese restaurant
Peekskill resident Nikki Lee recently opened RameNesque, a new casual Japanese restaurant at 1008 Main St. The restaurant specializes in ramen noodles and Japanese curry.
"I love food and I love to cook," said Lee, who moved to Peekskill in March. "Peekskill is a nice place to live, but it needs a Japanese restaurant."
Lee has had aspirations of opening a Japanese restaurant in Westchester for a long time before settling on Peekskill.
"I saw some different spots but didn't like what I saw," Lee said. "Peekskill has these old stores and buildings. It's quite charming. This is the place I want to be."
Lee said she also likes the artistic flavor of Peekskill with its galleries and quirky shops.
"There are a lot of interesting people here," Lee said. "There's this flair. You don't have that in other places."
The restaurant is designed for people to relax and have a cup of tea. Lee said she was also looking for a European coffee shop atmosphere.
"We have books and magazines for people to read," Lee said. "It's not just a restaurant, it's a place for people to hang out."
The food is modern Japanese and Lee uses only the best ramen, the same used in high-end Japanese restaurants in Manhattan.
"I tested many noodles until I found the right ones," Lee said.
The curry has a little kick, according to Lee. She didn't want curry that was too hot, but said mild curry was too boring. She also will offer some sushi.
"I enjoy food a lot," Lee said. "I've been cooking for a very long time."
Lee said she has traveled to many famous restaurants around the world, having lived in Hong Kong and Europe, which has been inspiring. Her favorite is the Japanese restaurant Nobu.
While opening the restaurant was tough and involved many hurdles to overcome, Lee said she is committed to giving back to the community.
"I am only hiring Peekskill kids," Lee said. "I will be paying them $10/hour, more than minimum wage. I want to motivate them. I want them to be partners in the restaurant."