Ivan’s Slurp Shop

The slurp shop is located in gotham west market, an upscale food court near Hell’s Kitchen featuring a variety of eateries of varied cuisines. It is one of the few places where you can return to on a slow day when you have no idea what you want to eat, and know that whichever meal you choose will probably satisfy. Kenji from Serious Eats mentioned that the slurp shop as one of the must-try of 2013, so I wasn’t there on a blind man search for sustenance. In fact, I took the bait and ordered not 1, but 2 of their promising entrees despite having planned for a few more food stops immediately after.

The smoked white fish donburi may look like a simple dish assembled from elementary ingredients, but the flavors that come through are complex and refined. Like a nigiri, chawanmushi… (See the pattern?)  Texture-wise, you get some chewiness from the rice, crunch from the cucumber, a somewhat dry protein in the form of the whitefish, and the all familiar burst of brine from the ikura. The portion isn’t huge, but it does make for a satisfying light lunch. 4.2/5

As for the ramen, I felt that the price was a little steep for the quality it offered. (Compare that to Yume Wo Katare, Hidechan, Ippudo etc) Sure, there was a healthy dose of scallion, and that ONE piece of char siu that was very succulent, albeit a little bland. The rye flecked noodle was a nice touch, but mine was probably a little overcooked so I found it a little soft. The soup was a disappointment though, at least for me. The shoyu broth tasted too strongly of soy sauce, masking any other flavor that may have been present. The layer of oil  was probably added separately instead of being incorporated into soup over the course of boiling. Perhaps I am so used to rich ramen stock with complex flavor profile that soup with simple flavors no longer impresses. For $13, it just doesn’t feel like I am getting my money’s worth.   3.5/5

This review probably runs contrary to many new york food critics. Maybe I caught Ivan’s on a bad day, maybe I should have chosen something something else on the menu. Still, it is too early to give the new establishment an ultimatum. Try it and maybe you will come to a different conclusion.

600 11th Ave
(between 44th St & 45th St)
New York, NY 10036
Neighborhoods: Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West

(212) 582-7942

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