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Ivan Ramen

Just came back from the opening.

Their Triple Pork Triple Garlic Mazeman was the best ramen dish I've had in the city. Highly recommend that dish.

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      1. re: silencespeak

        I went last night at 6:15 and there was only maybe 4 or 5 tables occupied. I don't think there was yet a wait by the time we left around 7 PM. I like the novelty to the scrapple pancake and the fried chicken livers and hearts were great except maybe just a little too much breading. As for ramen, it was great and I do like his noodles but I am no expert to tell you that this one is better than any others. I will try the mazemen next time.

    1. I enjoyed the Garlic Mazeman at the Gotham West location a few times, so I imagine the porky version is even better. Menu looks fab

      1 Reply
      1. I concur with silencespeak. Had the pork garlic mazeman and thought it was excellent.

        The kewpie prawns dish wasn't that notable. Definitely want to try the chicken liver/heart and braised ox tongue apps next time.

        1 Reply
        1. re: deepfry7

          The gem salad was fantastic, as was the monkfish liver dirty rice.

        2. I had the pork based ramen fully loaded,. It was very good. But I am still befuddled by the whole ramen craze, and reviews of amazing ramen. In Japan, it seems everyones' ramen ( at least all that I have tried, was great). Kind of like , a feeling of ramen is no big deal, it's just easy to be good. So Ivan won, a competition for best ramen in Tokyo I think,but it's just weird to me.
          By the way , I like Ivan's smoked whitefish Donburi at the Gotham location.

          7 Replies
          1. re: foodwhisperer

            I kind of agree ... ramen is to Tokyo what Pizza is to NYC in that it's abundant and often the more accessible versions are often pretty decent. I don't know that i'd say it's easy to make good ramen anymore than it's easy to make a good burger. If you pay attention to detail and perfect your technique most anyone can make excellent food. Japanese are one of the many hyper focused cultures ... but i digress.

            I do enjoy great ramen and while i don't hail from NYC, I am aware that many of the spots that are on the ramen radar here are far better than what's available in other cities.

            1. re: foodiebuddha

              Well, look at all the debates we've had about whose pizza is good and whose is better.

              1. re: foodiebuddha

                There are about 3,700 ramen shops in Tokyo and they fall into a quality bell curve. To make really good ramen, like with amazing soup in that short right side of the curve, it takes a lot of time and effort to just come up with the recipe and then more effort to consistently produce it. Ramen perhaps had an image as a dish old guys would make but the ramen culture since it boomed in mid-90's is mostly driven by younger, ultra-motivated guys, that can tolerate the toil.

              2. re: foodwhisperer

                He never won any awards in Japan as far as I know and I try to follow. His shops are not listed among the heavy hitters. But he does own two and received a lot of acclaim for being a successful American that made good ramen- both homemade noodles and soups... Some of the American press seems to be overstating his place in the Tokyo scene. Not sure if that is their own hyperbole or his PR firm or what. By all accounts, the man himself is modest and hardworking guy... I'm looking forward to try his shop here.

                1. re: Silverjay

                  Silverjay, I was looking forward to your take on Ivan Ramen. I enjoyed his ramen here in NYC. I didn't seek him out in Tokyo , as there are so many good ramen shops there andI'd sooner spend my time seeking out a really good tempura shop ( which I did) or sushi-ya. In any case, in the press, they refer to Ivan as a "ramen Master". Is there such a thing?
                  Maybe I underestimate ramen, but I don't think there is stringent training like that of a sushi chef , tempura, or kaiseki.
                  Perhaps, it is the overstating by the American press and Ivan's PR, that kind of got to me. And on Chowhound, we often read about "best pea soup or clam chowder etc" so as i'm typing , I guess i'm being too picky about what people rave about here.
                  I read your posts on the Japan board and tried to check some of your spots out, you are truly "the man" when it comes to Japanese food and especially Tokyo. Thanks for your posts.

                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                    Aww shucks thanks. I am most certainly "a" man but not "the" man.

                    No, there is of course no ramen master like you would consider other disciplines because there is no real canonical approach to the dish. And that is an aspect I find compelling and interesting because it just concentrates on deliciousness and one can fancy themselves a "B" level gourmet by trying many ramen for not so much cost and not so much consideration for the high brow esoterics behind a lot of other parts of Japanese cuisine.

                    I don't really go for tempura restaurants myself. I only go if I'm forced to or taken out to one. I got stuck going to two last year and haven't given those meals another thought. Meanwhile, I had a shrimp ramen that I still am dreaming about...It's tough to explain ramen to people who haven't spent a lot of time within Japanese culture. Conversely, pizza or BBQ persnicketiness would be tough to impart to Japanese I think.

                    1. re: Silverjay

                      I understand what your saying. I guess i've been lucky in Japan that I never had a bad ramen there. I do love the tempura in Japan and haven't found similar here, but I can understand that it might not be your thing. However, I love and crave certain Japanese things that are simple type foods. Yaki sakana, I can eat for breakfast and for dinner; Shiokara or wata ( sp) aka guts with sake or shochu,. Chawanmushi, they all seem to vary slightly. And the pastries/ mochi in Kyoto.
                      Maybe I'll start paying closer attention to the subtleties of ramen.

              3. I like how he mentioned Tampopo as his influence. So, now I'd like to see what he can make with omuraisu.

                1. Went tonight at 8. A five minute wait. Everything we had was delicious - shio ramen, dirty rice, scrapple okonomiyaki. What was really remarkable was the level of the cooking and the service this early on. Normally I'd wait and give them a few weeks, but this review by Jonathan Gold made it irresistable, and once they get reviewed locally it might be impossible to get in.

                  1. ohh very interesting

                    1. I met Ivan a few years ago in Tokyo at his first shop here, and have to say he is an honest and straight-up guy, as hard working as they come, and certainly worth all the praise he has recently received. His executions are exceptional, and are truly in line with the original Japanese spirit on which they are based. My only recommendation is to try the food at any shop he is operating and make your own judgement. He is certainly original, and worth any time you can spare to judge his efforts.

                      1. went last night at 715...no wait...about 50% full at that point. by 730-8, place was full.

                        service was kind of great. nice to see them have it organized.

                        everything we had was great...scrapple waffle, little gem salad, fried chicken bits, deviled eggs.

                        as for the ramen, the mazemen garlic was great...really great. the other classic ramen we had was meh. not worth ordering.

                        had a great time...will be back often.

                        1. I had Mazeman and the Shio Ramen and liked both, but people should wait for the word of the board verifiers.

                          1. I read about this venue and was planning to go.

                            Now I can plot my meal much better. Thank you.

                            6 Replies
                              1. re: tex.s.toast

                                ...assuming the MIB's in their Black Hawk helicopters don't get to him first.

                                1. re: Silverjay

                                  i hope they dont serve hoppy beer...state run beer would be better

                                  1. re: Lau

                                    Oh you haven't heard? He has "cracked the code" on beer. And it's just like Guy Fieri and Sriracha sauce-->

                                    1. re: Silverjay

                                      ad hominem, much?
                                      I've got a MIL that can speak **perfect* ...

                              2. I just went last night - no wait at 7:30 (nor did there seem to be one when we left after 9:30). We sat outside in the back and it was really lovely.

                                Only tried the scrapple waffle (great) and the spicy ramen, which was pretty darn spicy. Food was really good and I'll be back to try more.

                                  1. Honestly wished Ivan served Kirin or Sapporo draft in frozen mugs, I dont think local craft beers goes well with ramen.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Shirang

                                      I liked the couple of drafts they were serving. Nothing against Kirin or Sapporo draft either.

                                    2. Article on Ivan Ramen in yesterday's NY Times, dining section. Check it out. The author is raving about this place, really raving. Some nice photos of the noodle dish too.