Ippudo Review: Ippudo makes your taste buds happy

Ippudo Review: Ippudo makes your taste buds happy


Ippudo NY just opened up and New York went ramen crazy. Eater, Ed Levine, and Grub St all chimed in with positivity. Early word from Kathy was also positive, as she told us, “The broth was gorgeous, full and fatty just so, rich to the tongue.” Of course I had to brave the wait and taste this for myself. No wait is too long for the good for the blog!

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With Minca, Ramen Setagaya, Rai Rai Ken, and Momofuku Noodle Bar all in the East village, I think it is safe to say that this neighborhood has become the ramen hot spot for the entire country. (Yea, LA, I know your Asian population is large, but what you got?! huh??)

Since grub street reported that the wait time on a Saturday night was around two hours, I knew it was best to go during an odd hour. 2pm on a Saturday afternoon seemed like a safe bet. It was gorgeous outside and I figured only nutty people would eat ramen (a wintery, cold weather food) inside, much less wait in line for it. Apparently New Yorkers are nutty for ramen. I arrived at 1:40 and the hostess quoted me 15 to 30 minutes. By the time I sat down at 2:00, the wait was 50 to 55 minutes. Process that for a minute. How many restaurants in New York has an hour wait on a sunny, spring afternoon, so you can go in and slurp hot broth.

The front of the restaurant has a small bar, and on the wall behind the bar are a bunch of ramen bowls. Above the bar is this globe looking thingy… I think the light source symbolizes the super hot core inside the earth. It was pretty, but not after 20 minutes. Still, the entire restaurant had a nice, stylish feel to it.

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I ordered the Akamaru ramen which was just a variation on the ramen with a special sauce. Also the kakuni, which was a pork belly dish with some daikons. First the bad news… the kakuni was $8 dollars for two pieces of pork belly that you see in the pictures above, and the daikons. A price comparison to the pork buns at Momofuku makes me think this kakuni is a bit pricey.

As for the pork belly itself? Divine. The pork fat was melty and delicious, and it made me jealous that I had no idea how to cook pork belly like that. It was such a delicious piece of piggy that I wish for more. The taste almost justified the price, almost…


As for the ramen and the broth. This was serious broth. Nay-sayers would exclaim the broth leans on the saltier side, but those people are just confused. It was porky and flavorful, the way a good broth should be. The broth had a milky complexion and each slurp induced the following slurp. I highly recommend you try it if you can brave the wait, or if you go right when they open.

One funny thing happened during lunch. I was just minding my own business, taking pictures of my food like a good food blogger should. There was this white couple sitting across from me, just chatting with each other about their life or whatever. Then outta no where I had one of those moments where I was in Charlie Brown’s classroom, and the teacher said, “whaa-whaa-whaa…” The guy sitting across from me leaned over the table a bit and busted out Japanese on me.

I was perplexed, because if his assumption about my nationality was correct, then it would have made me the darkest Japanese person in the history of Japanese people. And please, do not take this the wrong way, I love Japan, Japanese food, and Japanese people. Y’all are the bestest. I put down my camera, kind of dazed, and said to him, “I speak English.”

Of course my English speaking skills were suspect, but whatever. Apparently he just wanted to ask me if the dish was kakuni. And it was. But they ended up ordering the fried chicken, which looked amazing as well. So that is it folks, go out, eat ramen, wear a name tag that says, “I speak Engrish.”

Ippudo65 4th Ave.New York, NY 10003212-388-0088