Who said third times the charm? My fifth and final attempt at Ippudo, Japanese Ramen restaurant on the East Village called success!
I have been wanting to try Ippudo for the longest and the wait would always be outrageously long during evening hours. The strategy to getting a table at Ippudo is to dine during lunch on weekdays or go solo during evenings. Part of the fun is to eat with a friend of course, so I met up with my friend Hiroko who is happily 4 months pregnant for lunch at Ippudo. According to Hiroko Ippudo is New York City’s best ramen! As a native and pure blood Japanese, I trusted her and I cannot agree more.
Consecutive day in a row with temperature in New York City in the upper 90s to 100 F was the perfect weather to slurp on a bowl of ramen, I promise. The air conditioner was blasting and making pass the reservation desk without waiting at all was exciting. It was a moment of victory. The lunch hours are much more slow in comparison to dinner but the servers were energized greeting いらっしゃいませ (irasshaimase) meaning welcome! The decor of Ippudo is modern Japanese elegance. From lighting to the layout of the tables Ippudo imports the Japanese comfort food to comfortable atmosphere to relax for a lunch or dinner meal.
The menu and description all read delicious. Being it was my first time at Ippudo, I ordered the Shiromaru Hakata Classic bowl ramen ($13). With $3 more I pigged out on the lunch set which I selected the Fried chicken over rice with salad. Hiroko had the same ramen with the choice of Mentaiko (Spicy Cod Roe) over rice. In the Shiromaru Hakata Classic Bowl ramen was slices of simmered berkshire pork, kikurage (wood ear mushroom), red pickled ginger, menma (bamboo shoots), 1/2 hard boiled egg, sesame & scallions submerged in a savory pork broth. The texture of the noodle is definitely very distinctive and unusual. Thin and al dente. The condiments of kikurage, menma, ginger, etc. are quite commonly used in even Chinese bowl of noodles and is frequently used in my dad’s homemade noodle soups but the way the condiments are cut and the presentation at Ippudo absolutely knocks your socks off!
いただきます! Slurp, Slurp
The meal ended with a cup of roasted genmai cha (brown rice tea). The desire to try Ippudo since its opening in 2007 has finally come true. With the last 4 failed attempts in getting a table at Ippudo, my expectations have constantly built and Ippudo did not disappoint one bit and has met my highest expectations.
Ippudo /// 65 4th Avenue New York, NY 10003