After waking up to lightning and thunder way earlier than normal, I looked out my window and it was pouring rain. I wanted to just go back to sleep, but I forced myself to get up. Today was opening day for the new Ivan Ramen Plus and I didn't want to miss it.
Neither did Brian or our new friends Justin and Lukas.
After a quick wassup to the crew, Ivan came over to welcome us and briefly explain his new concept. The most interesting part of the ramen created for this new Plus location is that it contains no meat. No chicken, no pork (aside from a little seabura/back fat of course). The soup is made solely and completely with dashi. Leave it to Ivan to push the boundaries again.
Before I got slurping, it was time to reunite with Yamamoto-san from Nagoya. Remember him? He came to help out Ivan and volunteer his skills for the grand opening. Yo Yamamoto!
Now to the food. There's only one ramen on the menu along with a tsukemen and a mazemen. The Special Ramen (特性ラーメン) was first on my list. I'm not gonna lie. When I first heard about the all-dashi soup, I was skeptical. But knowing Ivan I knew he could pull it off. And he did. This ramen actually blurs the line between ramen and udon. I believe I described it as a 'souped-up' udon broth when Brian first asked me what I thought. Perhaps an udon-broth-with-a-Western/French-influence-only-a-New-Yorker-could-infuse is a better description. Ivan goes all out with a special (and not to mention expensive) shoyu that is used to create the magical tare. Accent that with a little seabura, lemon garlic oil, tomato, and cheese among others and wham, you got Plus.
The hirauchi noodles matched the light assari-kei soup perfectly. Although the traditionalist in me felt like something was missing, this is a high quality ramen that will surely turn heads.
The onsen tamago is also a nice accent. Perfect for this soup.
Next up was the Special 4 Cheese Mazemen (特性４チーズまぜ). I love cheese. So when Ivan first told me he was doing a cheese mazemen at the new shop, I couldn't wait to try it.
I'm not sure how to describe this one. The impact was...well...explosive. People keep describing it as tasting like carbonara, but it goes way beyond that. From the moyashi pickle to the 4 different cheeses to the parsley oil to the onsen tamago and etc., there are a lot of flavors used to massage the senses. It's a bit on the heavier side, but it was great. If I may have one request, scale back a little on the sourness and add more cheese!! Haha...thanks.
As you might think, I was quite full by this time. But Brian on the other hand wanted to try the Special Meatball Tomato Meshi. I took a bite and it was really good.
Brian was...well let's just say he was acting like Brian.
Back at Bassanova it was tom yum paste prep day. Oh how I hate tom yum paste prep day. hahaha..jk...okay maybe not.
But it's all worth it in the end.