As the rhythm of his name foretells, duality emanates from Orkin in a nearly oracular manner. He is of two lands: Tokyo, where his ramen has drawn raves, and his native New York, where he learned the restaurant trade at Mesa Grill and Lutèce, and where soon he will be opening a new noodle shop. He has had two wives, as we learn from this text, which is one part compelling autobiography and one part cookbook (plus a hilarious foreword from David Chang on America’s inability to eat ramen properly). His signature meal, shio ramen, is a noodle soup made from two broths: chicken, and a seaweed/seafood mixture known as dashi. Orkin spends a leisurely 35 pages to explore, photograph, and dissect every component of this dish, from the chicken fat that harks back to the schmaltz he grew up with to the toasted rye noodles and the cured bamboo shoots. A half-cooked egg, sliced perfectly in two with a piece of fishing line, completes the presentation. The remaining handful of recipes tell you what to do with the leftovers (make an omelet made with dashi, wash the bamboo shoots down with a beer) or offer some ramen variations such as ago tsukemen, which is rich in roasted garlic and served cold. (Oct.)
"Ivan Ramen is a wonderful glimpse into the delicious, inspiring world of Ivan Orkin."
—Danny Bowien, James Beard Award–winning chef of Mission Chinese Food
"We are all fortunate that a young Ivan Orkin, growing up in 1970s suburban Long Island, fell in love with Japanese food. If he hadn’t, the world would never know Ivan’s amazing ramen, one of the most powerfully delicious noodle soups on the planet."
—Chad Robertson, James Beard Award–winning chef, author, and co-founder of Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine
"Ivan has dedicated his whole life to understanding and creating the perfect bowl of ramen, and he has mastered the two most critical elements: the noodles and the broth. He consistently delivers the best bowls I’ve experienced in my life. Completely authentic, completely delicious."
—Ming Tsai, James Beard Award–winning chef, author, and owner of Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon
“What Ivan Orkin does not know about noodles is not worth knowing.”
—Anthony Bourdain chef, author, and host of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown