Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ippudo NYC ramen



After two days in Time Square, I was dying to get out. Craving ramen! When we showed up at Ippudo in East Village, it was slammed as usual, filled to capacity with mostly Asians. Always a good sign to see large groups of Asians at any Asian restaurant. 
There is always a crazy line at Ippudo. The hipster crowd was squished into the darkish, loud, tiny, lobby-ish bar area swaying, chatting and texting to ambient electronica. The hostess told us one hour and 45 minutes! I guess when you craving ramen, it's worth the wait. Starving and near fainting, we had to seek immediate nourishment. Nearby was The Barrel, a tapas bar offering outdoor seating, where we nibbled on TERRIBLE hors d'oeurves, killed time and prayed for Ippudo to call our table.
Finally, after two hours, Ippudo summoned and I ran! No matter how slammed they are, the service is consistently super awesome. When our waitress took our order, it was like nothing else mattered. She shut out the world and was attentive and in not a bit of a rush.
Ippudo is loud, fun, sophisticated yet understated, and filled with super happy vibes. I appreciate the dramatic theater lighting, stylish clothes, good hair, cute guys, hot girls and bright tattoo sleeves everywhere.
Yamitsuki Goma Kyuri, $8.  Japanese cucumber, sesame oil and seasoning. Super cute faux sushi plating. Nothing better than a cold spiced crunch to start off.
Shishito, $8.  Flash fried peppers served with lemon and yuzu salt. Mild fire with an awesome silky crunch. A splash of lemon and yuzu salt make them totally addicting. Get one for the table.
Hirata Buns with Shrimp, $10.  Fried saucy shrimp, mayo (?! it works, trust me), crunchy lettuce and fluffy steamed bun. Exquisite bites of flavors and textures. Two of the best bites I've ever had, EVER!
Akamaru Modern, $15, with Nitamago, $2.  The most popular ramen here is the Akamaru Modern, Ippudo's richest tonkotsu ramen with the nitamago (seasoned soft-boiled egg). Tonkotsu broth is a creamy, cloudy, milky, white soup derived from excessive boiling of pork bones and parts. This bowl was filled with super tender and sweet pork belly, woodear, scallion, cabbage, a secret miso paste and tons of charred crushed garlic. Crazy good, favored to the max.
Complimentary tea in perfect portions.
Annin Sorbet, $7.  Blood orange sorbet with tofu custard. The sweet ice cold with the smooth rich custard...perfect end.
Ippudo Ramen
(212) 388-0088
65 4th Avenue
New York, NY 1003
Official site for Ippudo.
Ippudo on Urbanspoon

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