Monday, December 22, 2014

Ippudo in New York, NY

I feel like ramen is like the social butterfly of the food world; it can jump from 50 cent blocks of sodium-ladden, health-concious-heart-stopping, college budget food (though I am proud to say that in my two years of higher education, I have yet to resort to ramen) to $20 a bowl, imported, fussed-over, long-simmered, two-hour-wait-time cuisine. Talk about that social climbing. 

Ippudo falls closer to the latter end of the ramen social spectrum. At around $15-$17 dollars a bowl before toppings ('cause you know I gotta load 'er up with the extra trimmings), a hour and a half wait time, over six thousand Yelp reviews, it's eating high on the hog. Pun intended.

Ippudo gives traditional Hakata tonkotsu ramen a chic, jet setter facelift; noisy, hectic, and just a bit eclectic, it's a spot that the young professional crowd would love. Don't come expecting a traditional bowl, but trust me, it's still pretty darn tasty.

Tako spicy grill // Grilled Spanish octopus + potatoes seasoned with Ippudo chili sauce and cilantro // 10 

Hirata buns // Steamed buns filled with pork served with Ippudo’s original spicy buns sauce and mayo // 9

Hakata tonpu yaki // A savory pancake with sliced pork belly + cabbage, topped with okonomiyaki sauce + Japanese mayo + hanakatsuo // 10

Because we had a long day of eating planned, my group decided to split two bowls of ramen and get a few appetizers to fill in the gaps. Of the three, my favorite by far was the hirata buns: sweet, slightly smokey, and melt-in-your-mouth fatty - that's all the necessary (delicious) food groups. Sign me up, please!

Akamaru modern // original tonkotsu soup noodles + "umami dama” miso paste + pork chashu + cabbage + sesame kikurage mushrooms + scallions + fragrant garlic oil // 15

Karaka men // original tonkotsu soup + Ippudo’s special blend of hot spices + pork chashu + sesame kikurage mushrooms + onion + minced pork + scallions // 15

Ippudo uses the thinner, straight type of noodles. They aren't as chewy as I like, but the depth of the soup more than makes up for it. It's rich with fat and collagen without feeling too heavy. the akamaru modern is a bit saltier, but I absolutely loved the garlic oil on top. It's like the ramen was kissed with a wet, sloppy, mellow garlic essence.

The karaka men's heat hit slowly. On first bite, I mentally scoffed at the weak kick, but after five or so sips of broth I was feeling it, and I was feelin' it hard. And yes, call me a masochist but I dug that pain. 

I'm not going to lie: Ippudo really is all that people rave it up to be. It's a $15 bowl of ramen, but it's a life-changing $15 bowl of ramen.


East Village
Ippudo on Urbanspoon
65 4th Ave
New York, NY 10003

Hell's Kitchen
Ippudo Westside on Urbanspoon
321 W 51st St
 New York, NY 10019