Ippudo, Finally


Ippudo NY | 65 4th Avenue (bet. 9th & 10th Sts.) | 212.388.0088 | www.ippudony.com | | | |

THERE ARE SEVERAL SIGNS THAT a restaurant is turning out some excellent food. One sign is when, of course, almost every food and restaurant-related website—from critics to bloggers to random “commenters”— is singing its praises. A second sign is when your fellow foodie friend—in this case, my friend, Kim, whose opinion I value highly—insists fervently for over a year that, out of all the other places she has tried and even frequented, there is that one place that I have to try.

A third sign is when there is a 15 minute wait for just lunch at only noon, as was the case as I arrived at Japanese ramen noodle “brasserie” Ippudo NY today, these three signs finally impelling me to take the rather quick M15 Select Service bus down to the East Village and check it out.

The storefront was quaint, the inside waiting area rather “nook”-ish, but all of it festively decorated.


Ippudo NY

Ippudo NY

Ippudo NY

Ippudo NY

Ippudo NY


My wait was only about ten minutes, as I was ushered into a much larger space with several types of dining areas, some set up for small parties, some for large, and some communal.


Ippudo NY

Ippudo NY

Ippudo NY

Ippudo NY

Ippudo NY


I was sat at a round communal table with great views of the nicely designed space, the active and boisterous kitchen, and other happy and unusually attractive diners.

I knew what I would order of the lunch menu, the akamaru “Modern” ramen bowl, which was highly recommended by my friend. The menu offers a just the ramen dish, or a set option, which includes a mini salad, and a small sticky rice bowl with your choice of protein topping. The roast pork, fried chicken, and grilled eel were all very appealing choices; I decided to go with the mentaiko, or spicy cod roe. The presentation was splendid, although at first I couldn’t figure out why I needed such a big spoon and ladle for a bowl of rice.


Mentaiko (Spicy Cod Roe) over Rice

Mentaiko (Spicy Cod Roe) over Rice

Ippudo NY


This was so tasty that not even halfway into the bowl I had lifted it up off my tray and held it directly under my chin as I shoveled bitefuls off it into my mouth in continuous motion. The roe had rich, oceanic flavors with a bit of a kick, and stirring it into the rice as I ate it made some parts of it cook a little, so it had a taste and textural duality to it, heightened by mildly-spiced mayo/dressing and very thinly sliced nori, or dried seaweed.

I would have to put my bowl down soon enough as another, much larger one was placed in front of me at my table. My “Modern” had arrived. Ah, now the spoon!


Akamaru "Modern" Ramen

Akamaru "Modern" Ramen

Akamaru "Modern" Ramen


This dish is so far away and above those dollar each, plastic-wrapped bricks on supermarket and bodega shelves that it’s a near sin they share the same name. First of all, the noodles are made expertly in-house, and are thinner than their college dorm counterparts, so they naturally absorb much more of the lusciously rich broth’s flavor while maintaining a pliable firmness that gives them proper slurp as well as chew. Secondly, the broth’s depth is arrived at by balancing the taste and aromtaic properties of their secret “umami dama” miso paste, pork chashu—its inherit fatty, and deeply accentuated goodness rendering heartily throughout the broth—cabbage, kikurage (a fungus also known as wood ear), scallions, and, as they put it, a “fragrant” garlic oil.

The noodles are close to genuinely steeped in the broth, so it’s very common to have plenty of broth left over once all the noodles are gone. To entice customers even further, Ippudo also offers a kae-dama service of an extra order of noodles to drop into your bowl. That wasn’t necessary for me as I was quite sated and full once my ramen was done. Which is also why I didn’t order the delicious-looking pork buns that both customers on either side of me did. Next time.

And next time will be a lot sooner than even I would expect, since it seems that not only is my friend Kim a frequent customer, but so were the mother/daughter due eating across from me as well as a large portion of the other diners. And, again, this was just lunch.

I guess that would be a fourth sign.


Ippudo NY

Ippudo NY


Bun Apple Tea!

.kac.


Ippudo on Urbanspoon


Ippudo NY | 65 4th Avenue (bet. 9th & 10th Sts.) | 212.388.0088 | www.ippudony.com | | | |



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