Ramen: Spicy Red Chili Ramen ($14) w. additional Soft Egg (free)
REVIEW: Located within the Gotham West Market, the Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop is diner-style ramen at it’s best, you sit at the counter, watch the cooks whip up their noodley magic and voila, a bowl of steaming goodness is yours to enjoy. I opted for the SPICY RED CHILI RAMEN which states it’s a “7.5 out of 10 on the heat scale”, sounds perfect to me. While the bowl I was presented was smaller than anticipated, the broth spice level was indeed perfect, a good heat that caused a sweat but I could still taste other flavors. What I really enjoyed about this bowl was the inclusion of Rye Noodles, that gave the ramen a unique bite and texture, I really liked it and thought that it raised the overall game of the dish. The ground pork was great but I was disappointed with the egg, one was flavorless, while the other was cold. I would definitely come back to try another dish if I was in the area but if you are looking for a spicy little number to curb your lunchtime hunger without putting you to sleep afterwards, the SPICY RED CHILI RAMEN might be for you… just don’t go for the additional egg.
For my second Tokyo ramen adventure, Brad took me to a little place called GOGYO. Located in the Nishiazabu District, this place focusses on Soy and Miso ramen rather than Tonkotsu while offering a few other choices as well. This is the place that Brad says he can “only eat at once in a while as the flavor is too much, its too bold, too powerful but so tasty”. Wow, I have to try this!!!
Little known tidbit of into but the owner of IPPUDO also owns this place but there are only two of them making GOGYO that much more rare. The three of us were seated quickly and quickly ordered some appies: Ramen Pocky (Deep friend ramen noodles dusted with ramen spices), Tofu Hotpot (cubed tofu and a hot & spicy sauce) and Gyoza (bite-sized and similar in taste to the Ippudo Gyoza). All three appies were excellent and just got me hungrier for the main event. I ordered the Kogashi Miso-Men or “Burnt Miso Ramen” while Brad & Drake ordered the Burnt Soy Ramen. Get that ramen in my belly!
A large black bowl arrived filled with a steaming black broth, wow, what a striking visual. The thin noodles and chashu pork were submerged in this inky black broth, only the stark white of the half egg & fish cake were visible above the blackness. Under the broth I also found ground pork and mushrooms so I mixed it all together and went for my first bite!
Wow… wow, wow, wow!
I can honestly say that this is the most uniquely flavored ramen I have had yet. Rich, salty, strong miso but delicate finish, this truly was a completely different flavor than I was used to. Also, while I an not usually a fan of thinner noodles, I found that they complimented the Burnt Miso broth, seeing the black broth and bits of fat & pork clinging to those noodles as you slurp them up was a great visual. The chashu was fresh and delicate but I was really pleased with the ground pork as it added a lovely flavor and texture addition to each bite. Also, I commend them on the temperature of their ramen, it was damn hot, the way a proper ramen should be served.
Overall, while startled with the unique flavor, I quite enjoyed it. I wouldn’t want to eat it every week but once in a while it would be a welcome flavor change. GOGYO is definitely worthy of a try but be prepared for something different, tasty, but different.