Perfect Brunch at West Gotham – a bowl of Ivan’s Ramen and a crepe at Waffles De Lys

When NYC turned into an icicle in December, I needed a new soup spot to warm up my cold stomach. That’s when I came across Ivan’s Ramen.

Ramen is a new obsession of mine. My good friend who loves Asian food (I call him my Asian food consultant- everybody needs one in their life!) used to tell me ‘ramen is the weakest noodle’. Like a fool, I believed him.

My love for ramen was not the “first sight” kind. Quite the contrary- I thought it was gross. I hate meat in my soup, and I try to stay away from carbs. But I first started eating the broth just to warm up, and I’d leave the rest for my husband to eat. Then, gradually, I developed an appreciation for the texture of the noodle, the complex flavors and the overall simplicity of the dish. Before I knew it, it was fire and desire, baby.

Trying out Ivan’s Ramen was a no-brainer. Ivan Orkin is a Jewish guy from Brooklyn who makes ramen so good that Japanese people in Tokyo line up for it. How could I not be intrigued?!

“You [sic] need great attention to detail. With ramen and with everything else in life. Do it with care and it will come out great.” Ivan, when asked for his key to success in the business.

Slurp! Slurp! at the West Gotham Market

We went to Ivan’s Ramen at West Gotham to try out the famous Chicken Paitan ramen, which is Ivan’s signature dish. First of all, this is not a regular ramen. It’s literally Ivan’s Ramen, one of a kind bowls of soupy goodness. The level of mastery he reached in this craft only happens when you understand the concept well enough that you start bending the rules and somehow upholding them all at the same time. He mixes elements of other cuisines, i.e. Tuscan and Jewish cuisines in a typical Japanese dish.

The ramen we ordered was a thick chicken broth, with soft egg, minced chicken, scallions, rye noodles and a garlic bomb (that was an extra).The broth was smoky and a bit salty (especially at the end).  The best part was the richness of the soup, and the garlic bomb, which was a mix of lightly spicy red sauce and garlic deliciousness.

The staff saw me taking photos of the slurp shop, and they told me that Ivan was at the shop that day. Of course, I had to meet him.

The only negative was the price. With add-ons, we paid $20 for one bowl of ramen, which is pretty crazy. However, the ramen was rich and filling and one bowl was more than enough to fill up two hungry people.

Dessert at Waffle de Lys

For 10/10 satisfaction I always need to end my meal with a dessert. The Gotham West Market is a random compilation of great food stands, so you can get pretty much exactly what you’re in the mood for, including dessert. We headed over to Waffle de Lys. I’m biased when it comes to sweets, but on the scale of deliciousness, I think my waffle was my favorite food that day!

It was just that good (this comes from a person who lived for 6 months in Brussels!). I had la nutty, which had nutella, banana, hazelnut crunch, and homemade whipped cream. The whipped cream was my favorite, but every other part of that waffle was also high quality – dense waffle, thick nutella, and crispy drizzle on top. Did I mention the whipped cream? I’d come back just to indulge in more of this super creamy, yummy cream.

The takeaway

If you’re not quite convinced about ramen, and you want to try something creative, check out Ivan’s Ramen Slurp Shop. His ramen turned my ideas about this traditional soup on its head. It will make your head spin too!

If you’re not into ramen, a visit to West Gotham Market is still a must, especially if you have a larger group with trendy, hard to please taste buds. There’s something for everyone there. And if everything fails, there’s always the whipped cream at Waffle de Lys.

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