Ivan Orkin is a noodle king. At Ivan Ramen (25 Clinton St., 646-678-3859), you can slurp what some have called the best ramen in the world. Bowls brim with rich broth spiked with soy sauce or chilis, along with bountiful rye noodles and topped -- if you order the bowl "fully loaded" -- with roasted tomatoes, pork and soft boiled eggs.
But what I found most exciting during my meal at Ivan Ramen was the okonomiyaki, a dish that is both exotic and accessible and one that I will remember for a long time.
Traditionally, okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake topped with a variety of ingredients. Orkin has taken this pancake of sorts and turned it into something truly unique. His base is actually a waffle, with the batter made out of scrapple. His scrapple is rich and earthy, a combination of chicken livers, pork, buckwheat flour and cornmeal.
The result is a dense, meaty waffle just begging for toppings, and top it they do with crunchy napa cabbage, pickled apples, bean sprouts and scallions. Drizzled luxuriously over the whole thing are two sauces -- a maple kewpie (Japanese mayo) and the distinct bulldog sauce, which is both sweet and pungently sour. The dish is then cut into chopstick-able pieces and served hot and crispy.
Though the ramen's in the name, the scrapple waffle has quickly become one of the restaurant's greatest hits.
Ariel Kanter is an editor at Gilt City.