So this is it. We finally have our very own Ivan Ramen brick and mortar restaurant in New York City, after years of waiting and years worth of articles about the white guy from Long Island who became a ramen king in Japan.
Does that mean we can stop talking about him now?
We're just as guilty of this as anyone, but I think it's time that we all got over the "who" part of this equation and started talking more about the "what." The "what" is all that's really going to matter to you as you decide whether or not to wait an hour for a table at Ivan Ramen's Lower East Side HQ. So what is the "what," exactly?
The "what" is some of the best ramen in New York City. The "what" is a menu full of excellent small plates that have little to do with soup and even less to do with Japan. The "what" is also an awesome back patio with big picnic tables, and a pleasant and knowledgeable staff who seem to genuinely enjoy their jobs.
So what that the guy making the ramen happens to be Jewish? There's a Japanese guy making a hamburger somewhere in this world too.
Our initial suspicions were that this was some sort of reconstituted dinosaur egg, with mustard. Not the case. The filling in these devlied eggs is actually preserved duck egg, which is quite rich. Order if you really like deviled eggs. Maybe skip them if you're unsure.
Five insanely good pork meatballs, drizzled with buttermilk dressing and Bulldog Sauce, a brown condiment typically served with tonkatsu (fried cutlets). These are a must order.
Okonomiyaki is sort of a griddled Japanese pancake or waffle, with all kinds of fixin's mixed in. This one makes a nod toPennsylvania with the inclusion of scrapple, along with some cabbage and apple. We typically love okonomiyaki, but found this to be a little bit too sweet. It really did taste like a Belgian waffle, and we like ours to have a little more salty/savory thing going on.
Traditional and really, really good. You aren't gonna be mad at this. Not one bit.
The vegetarian ramen at Ivan Ramen is incredible, as in you wouldn't really know there's no pork parts in there. I'm not sure what kind of vegetable makes this ramen so tasty, but I'm betting it's full of animal fat.
Our favorite bowl on the Ivan Ramen menu, but you need to understand that this shit is very spicy. If you can handle the heat, you will be rewarded. But do not attempt if you're sensitive.