Tag Archives: Ramen

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

IVAN RAMEN, 25 Clinton Street (between East Houston Street and Stanton Street), Lower East SideIt’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.

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Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

HINOMARU, 33-18 Ditmars Boulevard (between 33rd and 35th Street), Astoria, Queens

It always feels like the good stuff happens once you leave a place. I lived in Astoria for 12 years (not a day goes by that I don’t miss it) and now that I have left, it feels like the neighborhood is being bombarded with exciting restaurants, bars, and even a brewery!

Case in point is HinoMaru, a colorful little ramen shop that hasn’t gained too much attention in the media, but has found a loyal following of locals. I was back in the neighborhood to film a new beer video (debuting soon) and had to stop in for a slurp.

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For the fourth year in a row, I present the 100 most exciting dishes I’ve consumed during my food adventures around the five boroughs. Look for another five dishes every few days.

It’s ironic that Japanese cuisine is my favorite because when I was younger, I tasted some dark roasty soup at the Japanese pavillion at Epcot that made me want to gag. My dining choices have gotten much better since my young days at Epcot. And today I just love the delicate freshness and full flavor of everything from ramen to sushi to grilled yellowtail collar.  Here are the five Japanese dishes this year that Epcot wishes it had on one of its menus.

NUMBER 15: HIRAME AND CUCUMBER at NETA

Hirame and Cucumber at NETA

Neta was full of surprises – all delicious. One of the first surprises we experienced at this trendy Japanese restaurant was the hirame (flounder) wrapped up with little bites of green, herbal freshness. The filling consisted of lime, cucumbers, and jalapeños, with a spicy cilantro sauce. It’s not your usual Japanese combination (it almost had a Mexican flair), but the bright, citrusy lightness paired with the luxuriousness of the plump fish flesh worked wonders. And throughout our dinner at Neta, the surprises kept coming, Price: $15

NETA
61 West 8th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Greenwich Village
(212) 505-2610
netanyc.com

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For the fourth year in a row, I present the 100 most exciting dishes I’ve consumed during my food adventures around the five boroughs. Look for another five dishes every few days.

In the last few years, a brand new cuisine has been created that I (and most of NYC) like to refer to as “hipster Asian.” There’s a definite kitschy, hipster vibe to these restaurants that are all located in trendy neighborhoods like Soho or Red Hook – unlike the no frills Asian joints located in ethnic enclaves in the outer boroughs. Also, many of these chefs are white Americans who have spent some time in Asia falling in love with the cuisine. Now they’ve brought it to us and these five dishes are an argument for why this city is better for it.

NUMBER 20: TOFU RIBBON SALAD at YUNNAN KITCHEN

Tofu Ribbon Salad at YUNNAN KITCHEN

Somewhere between a spicy pasta dish and a cooling herb-loaded salad, is this plate of tofu ribbons. Inspired by the Yunnan region of China, the food at this Lower East Side restaurant is hip, authentic, and delicious. The long strands of tofu in the salad have a nice toothsome chew and sop up the bright dressing of spicy chilies, sweet tangy red onions, and loads of fresh mint and cilantro. If you can’t decide between pasta, salad, or vegetarian food, this is the dish for you. Price: $11

YUNNAN KITCHEN
79 Clinton Street (between Rivington and Delancey Street),
Lower East Side
(212) 253-2527
yunnankitchen.com

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For the fourth year in a row, I present the 100 most exciting dishes I’ve consumed during my food adventures around the five boroughs. Look for another five dishes every few days.

This is truly the year of the mash-up. Last night, most Jews in this country celebrated a once-in-a-lifetime mash-up of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah with cranberry latkes and pecan pie rugelach. But people have been hybrid crazy this entire year. There was even a fried chicken spot called Hybird (now closed). Maybe it all started with that infamous cronut, but here are five other crossbreeds that are pure imagination and deliciousness.

NUMBER 55: ISRAELI SCOTCH EGG at EASTWOOD

Israeli Scotch Egg at EASTWOOD

A Scotch egg is a classic Scottish gutbomb that consists of a hardboiled egg wrapped in crumbled sausage and breadcrumbs. Bringing the cholesterol down just a touch, the vegetarian friendly version at Eastwood throws in a little Israeli flair. A crisp and sesame-laden falafel serves as the exterior and it opens up to reveal a perfectly cooked egg with a decadent yolky center. Garnished with Middle Eastern spices and served with a side of tahini, this is one Scotch egg that is truly kosher. Price: $3

EASTWOOD
200 Clinton Street (at East Broadway),
Lower East Side

(212) 233-0124

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For the fourth year in a row, I present the 100 most exciting dishes I’ve consumed during my food adventures around the five boroughs. Look for another five dishes every few days.

Whether you slurp them, chew them, or bite them, whether they’re filled with cheese, floating in a soup, or tossed with a sauce, pasta is certainly a universal food. They appear in just about every cuisine in many different shapes, sizes, and flavors. This year, these three noodle dishes won my heart.
NUMBER 60: TABATA RAMEN at TABATA NOODLE

Tabata Ramen at TABATA RAMEN

Lately New York has experienced ramen joints that are really stretching the imagination of what we understand as ramen. We’ve long surpassed the days of college ramen with horrifying flavor packets and now ramen is moving away from the traditional Japanese flavors. Tabata Noodle in Midtown specializes in ramen noodles with a Burmese touch (thanks to the heritage of the owner and most of his staff). Nowhere is that more obvious than in the coconut milk based namesake ramen. The Tabata has a milky broth that is thickened with soybean powder and a hint of spicy curry. Floating inside are springy noodles that soak up every last flavor of the slightly sweet, tropical broth, along with spicy chicken, the usual hard boiled egg, tangy red onions, and a kick of fresh cilantro. Unlike any ramen dish I’ve stumbled upon before. Price: $10

TABATA NOODLE
540 Ninth Avenue (between West 40th and West 41st Street),
Hell’s Kitchen

(212) 290-7691
tabataramen.com

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