Greedy Girl is an inveterate watcher of TV food shows – and where they involve travel, so much the better. She’d seen Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations which featured the culinary equivalent of taking coals to Newcastle – a Jewish chef from Long Island cooking ramen in Japan.

Ivan Orkin successfully opened two ramen bars in Tokyo, an unprecedented feat for a foreigner. After heading back to his roots, he set up his first ‘slurp bar’ in Hell’s Kitchen, followed by the flagship Ivan Ramen on the Lower East Side. We stumbled across this establishment in Clinton Street on our way to Ninth Street Espresso in Alphabet City.

Reminding gluttonous husband of the story, Greedy Girl made a booking the moment we could get a wi-fi connection. There’s rarely a hesitation from gluttonous husband when it comes to ramen – it’s his version of, well, chicken soup. Whenever he needs to feel replenished, ramen is his number one choice.

We’ve had a power of food on this tour. The goal here was to have some revitalising noodles and head back into the heat. Hah. First we decided to sample a couple of appetisers, taking the Furikake spare ribs and chicken wings.

The spare ribs (featured at the top of this post) were particularly delectable; these are pork ribs rubbed with the Furikake spices. The meat literally falls from the bones; Greedy Girl often doesn’t order ribs because the meat doesn’t come away cleanly but this was the exception to the rule. An unqualified yum.

We decided to try the chicken wings to compare them to gluttonous husband’s recipe. These were very enjoyable but, in Greedy Girl’s humble opinion not as good as what we enjoy on our balcony at home. We prefer the wings to be a bit more caramelised. These, however, were quite light and very tender, dressed with a toasted garlic caramel, togarashi (another Japanese spice blend) and a shiso ranch dressing, all of which added up to a very tasty plate of food.

Ramen NYC Ivan Ramen

Chicken wings

Next up were two types of noodles; the triple pork, triple garlic mazemen and a chicken dan dan. We were sharing so no need to worry about ‘second day garlic’ which has, in the past, seen gluttonous husband banished from the ‘cuddle position’ because of his previous evening’s gastronomic adventures.

Ramen NYC Ivan Ramen

Triple the garlic, triple the fun

Ramen NYC Ivan Ramen

Chicken dan dan

There wasn’t a huge amount of broth in either of these dishes. The mazemen was a tonkotsu broth with pork chashu and whole wheat noodles. Yes, it tasted a bit garlicky but not the huge hit we were perhaps expecting from the description but – having said that – it was perfectly yummy.

The chicken was a nice foil, with a bit of spice. It was served with aromatic sesame oil (and anyone who’s never experienced the aroma of sesame oil in Asian cooking, please do so with all speed), pickled garlic, egg yolk and the whole wheat noodles again. Indeed, we thought later we should have tried a dish with the rye noodles just to have a greater point of contrast.

Both dishes were very enjoyable but didn’t have the same ‘restorative’ or pure feeling we usually get from ramen dishes – including those at the extraordinary Momofuku Noodle Bar, just up on 1st Avenue in the East Village. Still, it was more than acceptable fare and we left well satisfied.

The restaurant has a mix of bar seating (where we perched), tables and a rear courtyard/patio. It’s a fun spot with good service and a worthwhile stop on the Lower East Side.

Ivan Ramen

25 Clinton Street, NYC
Ivan Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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