Last Sunday, Jodi and I decided to go eat ramen at Ippudo a Japanese restaurant in New York City I heard about. It is interesting to note that ramen were not that known in France when I was living there: you could find them in the International food section of some supermarkets or in a few Japanese restaurants, but it was not that known. I understand that in the US, students use to eat them when broke; in France, it was more spaghetti... I really discovered ramen bowls when I tried it at Noodles 32 in Korea Town: it was incredibly good! I was sold later on when going to Momofuku Noodle Bar...
So we decided to go early to Ippudo as I knew that it was popular. Know that the original Ippudo opened in Fukukoa in Japan in 1985 and the New York location opened in 2008. Go figure why I waited that long to go there...We showed up at 11:40am and the restaurant was already full. We had to wait for a table for approximately 20 minutes, in the entrance, admiring a wall full of ramen bowls.
While waiting, we could hear people yelling something in Japanese and then people cheering back. We later understood that it was their way to introduce new patrons to the main room. They said in a nutshell: "these are our new guests, please say welcome to them".
They sat us in the first room, in a large table shared with other customers. The room was overlooked by a huge tree made of bamboo and there was bamboo everywhere. I was very excited to try as people around us seemed delighted to eat their noodles. Of course, do not be shy to slurp: it is mandatory! Interesting how when I grew up, we were taught how to eat soup and pasta a certain way, without making any noise. Sorry Mom and Dad...I have to slurp too!
So, I started with Tako Wasabi or raw baby octopus as an appetizer.
Yes, I know, some of you think it is creepy. I wanted to give it a try as I love octopus but never had it raw. I thought it would be a nice training for the day I will eat live octopus (soon)!
It was served with fresh wasabi. So, with the chopsticks, I mixed the octopus and wasabi. Eating with chopstick was a bit challenging as it was small and slimy. But the taste was wonderful with a delightful crunch. I am used to having octopus that was fried, sauteed or grilled, giving a totally different taste. You can retrieve some of the taste but raw has some freshness you will not find when cooked.
For the ramen, I asked the waitress which one was the most popular and she mentioned the Akamaru Modern.
Jodi ordered the Wasabi Shoyu Ramen that is their vegetarian alternative.
As Jodi was not sure how spicy it would be, so she asked for the wasabi on the side.
Now, know that the quantity they serve is big and that there is a lot of soup. You can ask for extra noodles for $2 (Kaedama), but I have to say that I was full, especially after having eaten some of Jodi's dish...
At the end of the meal, they brought us some green tea: it was a nice way to end this meal and clean our palates!
I really enjoyed (yes I did!) Ippudo! They serve great food full of flavor and I can't stop thinking about that soup...because as you know: I Just Want To Eat!
Enjoy (I did)!