25 Clinton Street
New York, New York 10002
Contact | 646.678.3859
Ivan’s standalone shop puts his ramen in the realm of Mu and Ippudo, though somehow with a slight western flair. That’s most notable in the L.E.S. buns, which weren’t my favorite, but exemplifies Ivan’s spin by making eastern traditions suitable for the skinny-jean, thick-rim-glasses wearing crowd.
But Ivan’s ramen does a good job of deviating from the traditional. That’s definitely true for the spicy ramen, which I ordered despite Jay’s warnings. The spice is strong — not the salty sriracha type of spicy, but a very airy peppery sort of spice that hits you upon first slurp. But spicy food lovers will appreciate it, and I somehow polished off the bowl against my tongue’s will.
My sister’s chilled lemon shio ramen is another inventive twist. It’s uncharacteristically light for a bowl of ramen, and probably the best of both worlds in the summer whenever you’re looking for something of substance but not heavy. The broth is citrusy, but not to the point where it trumps the brininess that makes ramen ramen.
Walk into Ivan and you’ll know you’re not in store for your typical ramen experience. I may prefer Momofuku’s noodles instead of Ivan’s rye variety, or Mu’s broths, but Ivan offers a unique enough selection that likely, smartly, caters to a wider New York City crowd that makes it worth a space on your city ramen list.