Who doesn't know Ippudo, considered the best ramen place in NYC? Their location in the East Village was our first immersion to the ramen craze that has been shaking the City in the past couple of years. But one Ippudo was not enough! So, they opened a new one Midtown, on 51st between 8th and 9th, bringing some concurrence to Totto Ramen. We decided to go on a Saturday, at the opening, fearing that the place would be packed. It was not the case, but rapidly, a crowd craving for noodles stormed the restaurant.
The layout is nice: first is the bar, that serves sake as well as draft Japanese beer (look at the handles that look like swords!).
Then, the main room, in a U shape, that overlooks the kitchen.
Then the dining room.
Similar to the flagship restaurant, when you arrive, they will shout in Japanese the number of people in the party and ask everybody to welcome them, followed by cheers. When a dish comes out of the kitchen, they will also shout the name before bringing it to the table. All of this adding a bit of folklore to the restaurant.
In term of food, Ippudo serves other things than ramen, but it was what we wanted to get. But before, we wanted to try their pork buns:
I discovered them at Momofuku Noodle Bar and I admit that I never miss an occasion to order them! These were really good! The pork was perfectly cooked, moist with the right balance between fat and meat. The bun themselves were soft and a bit sticky, perfect! A nice addition was the lettuce that have some crunch to the dish. Delicious!
Then, came the ramen! I went for the Shiromaru Hakata Classic with nitamago (soft boiled egg) and kakuni (braised pork belly):
It was made with “Tonkotsu” (pork) broth with Ippudo Westside’s signature Dashi; thin noodles topped with pork loin chashu, sesame kikurage mushrooms, menma ( lactate-fermented bamboo shoots), red pickled ginger, and scallions.
I have to say that the soft boiled egg at Ippudo is fantastic! It was literally melting in my mouth! I definitely recommend it!
I added the braised pork belly, but it was very disappointed. Overcooked for sure.
In fact, even the pork loin chashu was a bit overcooked and dry, but, thanks to the broth that was delicious, it was passable...By the way, did I mention that Jodi gave me her portion of pork chashu?
Jodi got the Akamaru Modern:
It was made of pork broth; thin noodles topped with Ippudo’s secret “Umami Dama” miso paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions and garlic oil.
The broth was delicious, not salty, with a great miso taste, thanks to the miso paste. She also added the fantastic soft boiled egg in her dish.
I admit that I was a bit disappointed by the new location from Ippudo. Maybe because I discovered less pricey and hype ramen places in the city, such as Umami Shoppu, Ramen Takumi or the delicious Hide-Chan Ramen!
Enjoy (I did)!
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!