After two years of waiting, tomorrow (Friday, May 9th) marks the opening of Ivan Ramen’s latest restaurant down on Manhattan’s lower east side.
Earlier this week I was invited by some foodie friends in high places to attend a friends and family dinner service at Chef Orkin’s latest location. And over the course of a couple hours while seated outside on the back patio – which features a huge ramen mosaic – we drank loads of sake and ate nearly every item on the menu. Ranked by favorite, these are the five best things that went in my belly…
#5. 1000 YEAR OLD DEVILED EGG – this combo of hen and duck eggs are stored underground for a long long time, then filled with a tofu-yolk mixture and dusted with tomato powder.
#4. LANCASTER OKONOMIYAKI – As a born and bread Pennsylvanian, I’m very familiar with scrapple. Ivan’s is poured into a waffle maker then topped with pickled apples and maple kewpie (whatever that is?)
#3. FOUR CHEESE MAZEMEN – it’s like the Italian cacio e pepe, but if you ordered it at a stoner diner in Tokyo. Pork chasu and whole wheat noodles. Oh ya, decadent.
#2. TOFU CONEY ISLAND – a truly excellent take on chili cheese fries except there are no potatoes or meat in sight. Instead, it’s tofu fries and mushroom chili. And the squirt of French’s yellow mustard is clutch.
#1. BRAISED OX TONGUE – Imagine some extremely tender steak with the most flavorful beef broth you’ve ever sipped, then set off with a schmear of Chinese hot mustard. Go get this. Go get it now.