The first week Ivan Orkin opened his actual ramen shop (not to be confused with its slurp shop location in Hell's Kitchen) in Lower East Side, I immediately rushed myself over for its famous triple garlic mazemen.
Looking at their menu, the prices are on the expensive side. The only reasonable priced appetizer are the roast pork musubi and pork meatballs. So I ordered the $6 musubi (another name for onigiri rice ball) along with the $15 triple garlic mazemen.
Roast Pork Musubi, $6
Toppings: roast pork, roast tomato, salted plum wasabi
The musubi is like an unfinished sushi to me. A tiny ball of rice is placed in the middle of a triangular seadweed, topped with warm roast pork and plum-flavored tomato. The musubi tastes really good actually. The only down thing is there are only 2 pieces in 1 order.
Triple Garlic Mazemen, $15
Broth: tonkotsu broth
Noodles: whole wheat noodles
Toppings: pork chashu, scallions, bean sprouts, garlic flakes
Up next, I tried the garlic mazemen everyone has been talking about. When the bowl is placed on your table, you can immediately smell a fragrant garlic scent; the whole bowl is loaded with savory garlic flakes! Unfortunately, even after an appetizer and a bowl of ramen, I was still not full. So when I decided to order another bowl of ramen, I did feel a little embarrassed. Even the hostess gave me a "wow" look when she took my order (LOL).
Classic Shoyu Ramen, $13
Broth: soy sauce + dashi + chicken broth
Noodles: rye noodles
Toppings: pork chashu, scallions, bean sprouts
The classic shoyu ramen is an extremely simple dish: a piece of pork chashu and a bunch of scallions laying on top of rye noodles. The broth has a dense soy sauce and dashi flavors, however, it's not good enough to stand out unlike the garlic mazemen, which is a must-try on Ivan Ramen's menu.
Despite the inadequate portion sizes and the expensive bill for 1 person, Ivan Ramen delivers an unique side of the ramen we never seen before. It's definitely not a traditional Japanese restaurant. If you want to enjoy your Japanese meal in a modern, chic place, visit Ivan Ramen and you won't be disappointed.
25 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002