Boston, MA– Ramen is the sort of food trend that many never thought would be sustainable. While ramen at its best can be a work of art in a bowl, it still tends to linger in the back of many Americans’ minds as being a cheap, 25-cent cup of instant noodles purchased at late night gas stations when both hunger and limited resources leave you with few options.
But ramen’s been an institution since 1976, when Kouraku—arguably the first ramen shop in the U.S.—opened in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo neighborhood. And it still stands as a beacon to both the deceptive complexity and singular joy of the instant wheat noodle.
On the East Coast, however, the undisputed king of ramen is Ivan Orkin. You might remember him as the man dubbed “The American who taught Tokyo how to make ramen” by The Atlantic. Or maybe you've read his best-selling memoir and cookbook, Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint. Or perhaps you remember him from season three of Chef’s Table. Or as the man who told Eater not even six months ago that he plans to expand his New York-based Ivan Ramen empire into 100 different locations over the next five years.
It’s possible one of those locations could be Boston. On March 27th and March 28th, Orkin will bring his creations to two local restaurants—Fort Point’s Trillium Brewing Company and Back Bay’s Uni—for a two night pop-up event that could be a taste of things to come.
“The idea has been wonderful. It really helped us,” he told Franchise Times in December. “If you guys come to my restaurant more than once, it will taste delicious each time, which is the difference between success and failure in this business. I’m not overwhelmed by the need to make food for a thousand restaurants.”
The event at Trillium will take place on March 27th, and offers diners a three course prix fixe meal from Orkin and Trillium executive chef Michael Morway, with specialties including Tokyo shoyu ramen, Triple Pork garlic mazemen, and karaage-style chicken with caramel garlic sauce and shisho ranch, as well as a glass of an exclusive lager made with rye and jasmine brewed specially for the event.
The event at sushi restaurant Uni will take place the following evening, where Orkin will be presenting a taste of some of Ivan Ramen’s signature dishes like pickled daikon XO, Tokyo shio ramen, and spicy lamb dan dan noodles.
As for definite proposed locations for expansion, Orkin has been reticent to reveal specific details; only explaining to Eater that it would have to be somewhere on the East Coast “close enough we can get to it without a plane.”
(Fung Wah bus lines have been out of business for over five years, Ivan; but we can recommend Lucky Star as a suitable alternative.)
Ivan Ramen at Trillium will take place on Wednesday, March 27th at 50 Thompson Pl in Boston from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm and 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Tickets are available at Freshtix. Ivan Ramen at Uni will take place on Thursday, March 28th at 370A Commonwealth Ave in Boston starting at 5:30 pm. Reservations can be made by contacting the restaurant directly.