Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City
It’s a great story. Ivan Orkin is a nice Jewish boy from New York who fell in love with Japanese food, earned a culinary degree, and then became a huge success in Japan re-inventing one of the culture’s most beloved foods: ramen. That’s like if some Japanese guy moved to Texas and opened up BBQ restaurants and the locals actually embraced it. Probably not gonna happen.
But it did happen in Japan. And now Ivan has returned home and brought his inventive and critical takes on ramen dishes. I enjoyed the few dishes I’ve tried at his more casual slurp shop in Gotham West Market. But now that he has a full-fledged restaurant, there’s even more ramen to enjoy.
I did enjoy the Red Hot Cold Mazemen one afternoon, but it set my mouth on fire. Sure, a sweet, delicious fire but I found the sauce to be a little too intense (especially on a summer day). The waiter told me this isn’t even as spicy as some of the other soups. Doesn’t a nice Jewish boy know to take it easy on our stomachs?
But I had no complaints whatsoever about the 1,000 Year Old Deviled Eggs. It’s rare to get new flavors when it comes to deviled eggs. Mustard, chives, cayenne, maybe paprika. But not much else. This really re-invented the dish. The century age refers to an iconic Chinese dish of eggs that have been preserved in ash, clay, and salt so that it turns a dark black.
Here, it’s just the yolks that have changed color. Perhaps the yolk has been preserved in miso because that’s what it tasted like. It’s also seasoned with shaved bonito and tomato powder. The flavor was very Japanese with rich, smoky notes but a clean light finish. Certainly the most interesting and creative deviled eggs I’ve ever tasted.
It’s dishes like this that highlight the excitement that an American chef like Ivan Orkin can bring to Japanese food. Now if only the Texans would let someone else take a stab at their BBQ.
|25 Clinton Street (between East Houston and Stanton Street),
Lower East Side