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Hip Holiday Brisket, Japanese Style

Ivan Orkin’s dashi-braised brisket is served with a Tokyo-style teriyaki sauce, scallions and an apple-ginger-honey chutney.

My friend Ivan Orkin is a culinary alchemist; a cultural mishmash artist in the kitchen; a man with one foot planted firmly in New York’s hip downtown food scene and another, as firmly, in Tokyo. (If you’ve read our , or any number of other high-praise press reports, then you already have a sense of this.)

Orkin’s holiday brisket — available for pre-order now through September 9 — reflects his peripatetic profile. Like the man himself, the dish is decidedly West-meets-East.

Ivan Orkin

Orkin starts with a four-pound brisket, braising it in dashi (“It’s a very light fish stock heavy on the kombu, which is Japanese seaweed,” Orkin said. “It’s the building block of Japanese cuisine.”)

He assures me that the dashi doesn’t imbue any fishiness. “It just sort of emphasizes the umami of the meat,” he said.

To accompany the brisket, Orkin came up with an apple–ginger-honey chutney, calling it “a very pleasant foil for the richness of the meal.”

So what made the chef/owner of Ivan Ramen and other restaurants best known for noodles decide to branch out into brisket?

“It’s a real New York thing,” Orkin explained. “People are lacking time more than anything. We want to find as many ways as possible to show our clientele that we’re thinking, that we’re coming up with fun things.”

“Hopefully they see this and say, ‘I’ve eaten at Ivan Ramen and it’s great, and everyone will be so excited when I walk thorough the door with this great brisket.’”

Orkin says his family is celebrating the holiday at his sister’s this year, which begged the obvious question: Are you bringing the brisket? I asked.

“It’s been suggested that I should,” he said.

Dashi-braised briskets are $175 and can be ordered through September 9 by emailing [email protected]. They will be available for pickup September 12 and 13.

Liza Schoenfein is food editor of the Forward. Contact her at [email protected]

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