Ivan Ramen Clinton St. Reservations
There’s one thing Ivan Orkin would like you to know above all else about him.
“I’m a Japanophile first,” he says. “I’m a chef second.”
That’s not something you’d easily gather just by looking at him as he sits at a bench in front of Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, his homage to Tokyo noodle bars in the indoor Gotham West Market. Self-proclaimed “ramenheads” line up early for the pilgrimages to his first permanent establishment in the U.S., and speak of his skills in reverent tones as his behind-the-counter staff pull out bundled strands of noodles from steaming vats, sprinkle a rainbow array of garnishes—scallions! salmon roe! cucumber slices! a soft egg!—onto a mosaic bowl of donburi, or offer a slightly intimidated newcomer a gentle nudge in the direction of a miso-butter mazemen that will appeal to his particular dietary preferences.