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Over the course of opening 4 restaurants—Ivan Ramen—in 2 countries, I have left some of my best and most beloved equipment and tools in each establishment. It’s always the same: tight budget, and I'd need a cleaver, a rondo, knives, sharpening stones... I personally owned them all, and would bring them to—and leave them at—each shop. Recently I finally put the brakes on this behavior and put all my restaurants equipment needs in the budget (duh?!). In the last year or so, I have finally started to rebuild my inventory of missing tools and equipment in my home kitchen. Here are a few of my favorites:
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The noodles were rye noodles — made with rye flour, because he had to change his noodles to account for the flour he could get in the United States. It wasn’t until I started talking flour with Orkin that I realized I knew little about making noodles.
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Tonkotsu is the fettucine alfredo of ramen dishes. It's too rich, and it's served in portions that are too large. Pork bones are boiled until all the fat, marrow, and calcium has turned the broth into something that looks like fondue. So props to Ivan Orkin for finding a way to make this dish a bit more digestible – by serving it in the tsukemen style. The noodles are dry. You dip them in a modestly-sized bowl of tonkotsu broth. There's enough to dip and sip, but not enough to slurp. Your GI tract will thank you. 25 Clinton St; (646) 678-3859; ivanramen.com.
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Ivan Orkin has never been one to play by the rulebook—the brash, Yiddish-tongued Long Islander first built his food-world fame not in his native New York, but 6,000 miles away in Tokyo, where he stirred up Japan’s devout ramen congregation with his light, silky slurp bowls in 2007. At his flagship Lower East Side restaurant, Orkin more than earns his keep in the ramen circle with seminal noodle-bar standards like his exquisitely delicate double-soup shio ($13), silky dashi-chicken stock swimming with thin rye-flour noodles and tender pork belly.
After more than 8 years, the incredible run of Ivan Ramen Tokyo is moving into its final phase. Although Ivan Ramen will be closing, I’m happy to say that my long time chef and manager, Hisao Matsumoto will officially take over the shop. He has yet to reveal the name or his menu, but after working side by side for five years, I’m confident it will be great.
Please join me on December 5th and 6th from 12-5 pm (or until the noodles run out) I will be at the shop to serve my final bowls, hang out with my customers old and new and officially pass the torch.
This has been an exciting journey and it would never have been possible without the support of the Rokkakoen community and all of the fabulous customers who have made the trek to my shop. Your support here is what made Ivan Ramen all that it is. I’ve been humbled by the acceptance I enjoyed and thank all the people who helped me realize my dreams.
I am excited to say that my adventure will continue in America with the expansion of Ivan Ramen, and some amazing new projects that are also in the works. I will now put my full focus on my continued mission to expose America to ramen and the traditions I have learned in Japan. I will be back in Japan frequently to pursue new projects, find inspiration and just hang out.
Thank you for an incredible decade. I’ll see you in the states at my other shops.
Although he’s known for incorporating elements of Eastern and Western cuisines, he’s quick to warn against labeling his cooking. "I never really made a conscious effort to create these types of mash-ups,” he tells the Voice. “In my life, I flow from my American culture and my adopted Japanese cultures effortlessly.”
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Tokyo is home to more than 10,000 ramen shops serving every combination of fatty broth and noodle imaginable. The oddity of a gaijin—a Japanese term for outsider—opening his own shop quickly caught the attention of the world’s ramen capital, earning him an invitation to appear on one of Japan’s notoriously quirky variety shows. The true surprise, however, came when the city discovered the gaijin’s bowl was among its best.
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At Ivan Ramen (25 Clinton Street, 646-678-3859), owner Ivan Orkin gets up to all sorts of East-meets-West shenanigans, like coating cubes of fried tofu in Coney Island–style chili and serving Chinese thousand-year deviled eggs. In the same vein, his Herbie’s International sandwich has us wishing Mel Brooks would Kickstarter a Young Frankenstein sequel, because mad genius Orkin has resurrected one hero of a hoagie.
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“I grew up with a mother who wasn’t too interested in cooking so I don’t have food from my childhood that I am nostalgic for,” says Ivan Orkin, the chef and owner of two New York City restaurants: Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in Hell’s Kitchen and his NYC flagship noodle joint, Ivan Ramen, in the Lower East Side. “My dad did make a mean bowl of spaghetti and meatballs so that would always be on the stove when I got home from college, but all of my go-to meals are Japanese.” Before he started influencing the New York ramen scene, Orkin spent 30 years obsessing over the soup that has launched untold miles of foodie lines, opening his first wildly successful—if unlikely—Ivan Ramen shop in Japan in 2007. (Among Orkin's devotees are David Chang, who wrote his 2013 book’s forward.) Now, going from ballsy foreigner trying to break into the country's cult-esque ramen scene to one of Japan’s most sought noodle bowls has had a lasting impact on what Orkin puts in his home fridge—and, especially, his stomach.
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Ivan Orkin, the Long Island guy who unexpectedly made a name for himself as a ramen king in Tokyo, has been serving some of the city's finest noodles since he opened his Lower East Side flagship in 2014. The late night crowd can be thin in the 11 p.m. hour – sometimes just a patron or two – but that's okay. This isn't a place to party; it's a place to eat. Sit at the diner-style counter, knock back a few pork and tomato musubi, then get to the main event.
Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, $13
It’s ramen. And breakfast. It’s whole-wheat noodles in a fonduelike double-dashi-Cheddar broth with strips of scallion omelette, griddled Taylor ham (a.k.a. pork roll), and a dusting of katsuobushi. It’s strange. It’s wonderful. It beats oatmeal.
Eat out for a cause! Chef Ivan Orkin has put together a prix-fixe menu — that includes a special miso butter mazemen with shimeji mushroom — available to diners between May 4 - May 13. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to No Kid Hungry.Read More
When we heard that the great ramen innovator Ivan Orkin and his Slurp Shop chef Brian Gremillion had created a “breakfast ramen,” we thought, Aha! Something bacon-and-eggy for lunch or dinner, no doubt. As it turns out, Orkin’s 8AM ramen is part of the shop’s new weekday breakfast and weekend brunch menus at Gotham West Market, and as such, it's meant to fortify you as soon as you roll out of bed.Read More
Ivan Orkin, who made his NYC debut offering Chili Eggplant and Four Cheese mazemen-style ramens. Now he's back at it, debuting a new Weekend Brunch and Weekday Breakfast menu at his Gotham West Market Slurp Shop that includes an 8AM Ramen, among other early morning-type creations.Read More
NYC's ramen scene is inundated with new takes on the classic Japanese noodle soup, but perhaps the most interesting new addition to the fray is Ivan Ramen's triple pork mazeman, a variation that Long Island kid Ivan Orkin brought from Tokyo to the U.S. Made with tonkotsu broth, pork chashu and whole wheat noodles, this dish is less soup and more pasta dish, with a thick porky and garlicky sauce that infuses every noodle with a wallop of flavor. Try it at his full-service ramen shop on the LES too.Read More
The Late Night Pork Ramen is made with 24-hour tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlets) bone broth, tender belly chashu (Japanese braised pork belly), crispy pork shoulder and chicharones (pork rinds), and is topped with crisp shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, garlic two ways, and pickled onion.Read More
There’s one thing Ivan Orkin would like you to know above all else about him.Read More
"In 11 of the world’s most compelling food capitals, neo-traditionalists, upstart iconoclasts, and ingredient obsessives are setting new culinary standards"
"Having first triumphed in Tokyo, the Long Island–born noodle master Ivan Orkin set up the lively Ivan Ramen on Clinton Street, where he creates witty Japanese-American mash-ups like Amish-scrapple waffles masquerading as okonomiyaki pancakes. Which dish wins? It’s a toss-up between the triple-garlic, triple-pork mazemen, with compulsively slurpable whole-wheat noodles, and the rye-enriched ramen in a sinus-clearing red-chili broth."