Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hot and Soupy #2: Ippudo, NY. Best Ramen in the States

A New York trip calls for Ippudo - if you haven't been there, that is.
I met up with an LA blogger (now Destination Eats) who's relocated to NYC, and his girlfriend for lunch during my trip.
There was a 45 minute wait, so we went to Momofuku Milk Bar to get some goodies while waiting for a table, but Ippudo's staff wouldn't let us take our cookies into the dining area. We had to leave them in the staff closet to be picked up when we leave.

We had fun observing the wall of ramen bowls behind the bar, and wondered what would happen during an earthquake. Well, good thing they're not in California!
After a while we were called to be seated and walked through a fairly large dining room - much fancier than other ramen joints I've been too, but I guess this is a popular spot in NY after all.

I've heard good things about their pork buns, so we ordered some. But beware although at the bar you can order them for $4 each, when you're seated at a table you have to order two at a time for $8! Why? Who knows. Because they want to?
Some people may kill me for this, but I actually liked Momofuku's pork buns better ...
The problem with these are the mayonnaise. Too much mayonnaise that it overwhelms the pork flavor. While the oyster sauce in Momofuku's pork buns are reminiscent of Beijing duck, mayonnaise just reminded me of ...well ... sandwiches?

But the main attraction here is the ramen. I ordered the Akamaru Modern ($14)
Akamaru means 'red circle,' Destination Eats' girlfriend explained to me. The red circle most likely referred the dollop of spicy miso paste in the middle.

Some food porn shots for you: thin straight noodles in true Hakata-style, thick chashu, medium boiled eggs.
This was indeed an excellent bowl of ramen. I liked the firm Hakata thin noodles, the tonkotsu broth is rich and flavorful, the chashu thick and succulent, and the half boiled eggs added an extra texture that neither poached nor hard boiled egg can. It is indeed a magnificent bowl of ramen that hints of the gloriousness that you might get at the original Hakata outpost.

The $14 price tag aside, the attitude about the pork bun ordering and taking cookies in aside, this was conceivably the best bowl of ramen I've had in the US. Whether or not you should pay $14 for a bowl of ramen, though (even if you are in New York), is entirely your decision.

Ippudo
65 4th Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 388-0088
www.ippudo.com/ny/
Ippudo on Urbanspoon
Ippudo in New York

7 comments:

MyLastBite

Wish Peter would have not given up when he tried to eat there a few weeks ago. Line was too long... no wonder!!

Gastronomer

Your post has put me in a ramen mood. It's unfair that all of our city's best is in Torrance ;-) Too far!

burumun

MyLastBite: The line definitely is too long. But apparently just long enough to walk to Milk Bar, get some cookies, and walk back though :)

Cathy: That's true, especially from Pasadena! At least we have Daikokuya SGV although it's still not quite Torrance.

Aaron

Sam Kim said the Momofuku pork buns are better too. I believe that's enough consensus for me to interpret it as a challenge. I'll have to try them out for myself.

Best ramen in the States? That's quite a claim, but I don't disagree. I haven't had better

weezermonkey

Mmm, yummy ramen!

Mayonnaise does not belong in pork buns. Have you had them at a real Taiwanese place? Let's go get good cheap ones together. :)

burumun

Aaron: It probably is a rash claim, but so far it's true, though I'd welcome a potential challenger :) That'd be some delicious ramen.

Weezermonkey: I have not, let's go!

Exile Kiss

Hi burumun,

Thanks for the review on Ippudo NY. $14 (+ tax&tip?) for a bowl of Ramen is a bit on the extreme side; but at least it's significantly better than the $16 bowl of Pho at STREET from all accounts I've read so far. I'll have to try it the next time I'm in NY. :) Thanks.

(And I agree that Mayo in Pork Buns = :(.

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