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New York Home > Food > Tale of the Tape

Published May 12, 2014

Tale of the Tape
Ivan Ramen and Okonomi

Ali vs. Frazier.

Bulls vs. Blazers.

Joe vs. the Volcano.

... None of these fights was as delicious as this...

Pull up a chair for Ivan Ramen (left) vs. Okonomi, a battle between the two most anticipated ramen spots of 2014, which happen to have sprung to life about a week apart. Let’s take a look at the tale of the tape...

The Background
Ivan: Ivan Orkin’s a New Yorker who, somehow, became the most beloved ramen chef in Japan before returning for this (and the Slurp Shop at Gotham West).
Okonomi: Yuji Haraguchi built a massive Smorgasburg line into a couple pop-ups, and now this.
Edge: Ivan. No disrespect to Smorgasburg lines.

The Scene
Ivan: A narrow, classic LES space with a Japanese-comic mosaic and a lunch-counter vibe. Check out the tiny patio out back.
Okonomi: 10 seats of Japanese minimalism (and an orchid) on just about the most discreet block in Williamsburg.
Edge: Okonomi. The ramen should do the talking.

The Edibles
Ivan: Six different ramens including his classic Tokyo-style salt-based version, along with 1,000-year-old deviled eggs and a take on a Coney dog with fries that includes neither dog nor fries.
Okonomi: Yuji specializes in mazemen (less brothy ramen) served with things like mackerel and ramps on the side. But look out for ramen omakase soon.
Edge: You. In a landslide.
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Photo, Ivan Ramen: Oleg March

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