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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Dinner #2 - Ivan Ramen

Late last month, I visited Ivan Ramen for a leisurely (and rare) weekday lunch. From the first Lucky Peach issue until now, I've thought that Ivan Orkin had figured out something totally exceptional and beyond (other ramen-ya). Well, this was a delicious and filling lunch, not transcendent.

We had four dishes:

  1. 1000 year-old deviled egg
  2. Chinese greens & garlic
  3. Chicken katsu caesar
  4. Dan Dan Noodles
The 1000 year-old egg was a revelation; way more delectable than the yellow boxes of 6 we purchase in Chinatown. It was supremely preserved and funky. The greens & garlic sounds almost too simple to order which is why, we ordered. And as a cold preparation, it was outstanding. The perfect ratio of greens to garlic, the greens cooked to the point between raw and mushy and the garlic slivers soaking up the relenting green water.

However, the two entrees were just fine. The salad dressing was great, but the chicken felt like any katsu from a W. 55th street shop and the romaine felt like it came out of a newly opened Andy Boy package.

Dan Dan Noodles (or mein) can be something to revel. With the pork chashu this wasn't great, primarily because of the chashu. I think the pork was stale. Definitely not rancid, the meat had this "old' taste to it that I think of when I open a package of badly freezer burned pork ribs. It was fine which was sad.

I thought there would be a big quality and experience gap between Ivan Ramen and Chuko / Ganso (my go-to places). It turns out that there isn't. If anything the gap is counter my expectations.