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We loved Tokyo’s Ramen Street and ate there twice in one week, but sadly, we didn’t make it to either Ivan Ramen or Ivan Ramen Plus. We wanted to go to both of CIA-trained Ivan Orkin’s locations in the Tokyo outskirts, but we simply ran out of time.
But hey, we live just a couple hours from New York City where, through the magical powers of globalization, Orkin recently opened two ramen joints in NYC. After a long afternoon in Flushing, we easily and happily hightailed it for a late dinner at the new flagship location in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Ivan Ramen New York
The downtown restaurant has tables both inside and outside, but we opted for spots at the bar, settling in among the dining hipsters. To get to the bar, we passed colorful walls and fun manga designs.
Just like real estate, there’s something to be said for location when it comes to dining. Having a view of the kitchen action is where we chose to be for our first meal at Ivan Ramen.
Ivan Ramen NYC is open until midnight. Since we arrived on the later side of the evening, there was absolutely no wait for a table or a barstool.
The menu is set up with four sections – cold, crisp, hot and ramen. We ordered a couple small cold dishes to prep our taste buds for the ramen yet to come.
The Pickled Daikon featured expertly cut radish strands smothered with scallop chili oil and bits of dried shrimp, all for $6.50. The bright and flavorful daikon harmonized with the crunchy, subtly spicy sauce. Our chopsticks nearly collided as we reached for every bite.
1000 Year Deviled Egg
The 1000 Year Deviled Egg was a soft counterbalance to the crunchy daikon dish. Perfect for sharing and just $3.50, these pretty eggs were amped up with umami flavors of bonito and tomato powder. We each ate our half of the richly prepared egg in just a few bites, marveling at the Japanese twist on the deviled egg.
Triple Pork Triple Garlic Mazemen
We each got our own bowl of ramen. Daryl ordered the signature Triple Pork Triple Garlic Mazemen for $15 and then took it to the next level by getting it ‘loaded’ with an egg, extra pork chasu and roast tomato.
The hearty, brothless noodles were bathed by buttery sesame paste and rich egg yolk, and the dish was delicately balanced by the bright concentrated tomato halves.
Spicy Red Chili Ramen
Mindi ordered a bowl of Spicy Red Chili Ramen for $14. The server warned that this soup is delicious yet very spicy.
People often warn about heat levels even when the food is barely seasoned at all, but this time the warning was actually valid. Each incendiary bite was loaded with both chili paste and chili oil.
Our one complaint was that the chili overpowered other ingredients like the smashed egg and the thin rye noodles. However, for those who like hot food, this bowl is a fun one-off hell broth experience.
Ramen goes well with beer. Mindi complied by drinking a malty yet fruity Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale from Kiuchi Brewery. Daryl diverged and drank Crispin cider.
As we sat at Ivan Ramen New York City, slurping our ramen and sipping our beverages, we had flashbacks of eating ramen in Japan. To us, eating ramen in Japan is the ultimate ramen experience.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.