Dish no. 76: Ankimo dirty rice from Ivan Ramen (25 Clinton Street, 646-678-3859)
Long Island native Ivan Orkin has finally opened up shop in his home state, and the ramen impresario who first gained popularity in Tokyo has proven that he has a knack for combining flavors from both Japan and the U.S. There’s a delectable scrapple waffle on the menu, the meat trimming hash crisped up and smothered in okonomiyaki toppings, but equally beguiling is a fluffy, dangerously fishy plate of New Orleans-inspired dirty rice amped up with crumbles of ankimo, or monkfish liver. Sushi restaurants usually serve the liver poached, and the best examples are nearly as melting as foie gras. This stir fry preparation renders the organ meat cooked a good deal, which subsequently pervades the dish with a strong fishiness. Squeeze some lemon over the top to balance out the funk, and you’ve got one seriously memorable side.
In advance of our 2014 Best of NYC issue, we’re traipsing through the boroughs and divulging our favorite dishes of the year. They’re presented here as a countdown, but we’re listing them in no particular order. Consider this a guide to what’s good to eat in this town right this very second.