Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ippudo

The day after eating pork buns and ramen at Ma Peche, I went and had… pork buns and ramen at Ippudo. My cousin’s cousin was visiting, and asked me to pick a ramen place; I gave her a list of a few places and she chose Ippudo, which is near a bunch of great shops and fun stuff. We had a blast catching up – can’t wait to see more of her this year ;)

I’ve actually only been to Ippudo twice, and both times for press previews. The wait is always too daunting and while I enjoyed their ramen both times I went, the menu prices seemed rather high considering my then-favorite place was a mere few avenues away, and a good $3 cheaper for a bowl of delicious ramen. Unfortunately, my favorite place has since closed down, so I sucked it up and put our names down for the hour wait around 1pm on a Friday. They have this cool app that takes down your cell phone number and texts you when your table is about to be ready, so that worked out nicely – JKL and I headed to a nearby bar to drink Sapphire and Sprites while waiting for our table, and when I got the text, we walked back just as our table was ready.

Ippudo 01.jpg

Though I’d just had pork buns the day before, I remembered people raving about the Ippudo pork buns so we split an order of that to start. I’m not going to compare the two, because though they share a concept, the execution is slightly different – to the point where comparison isn’t really necessary. The pork here was again, sticky sweet and tender, with a bit of lettuce and a plop of mayo on top. Overall, the texture was very soft… and normally, I might consider that a negative thing, but it worked here. The sweet chewiness of the pork along with the creaminess of the mayo just made for a delicious bite, and I thoroughly enjoyed my pork bun.

Ippudo 02.jpg Ippudo 03.jpg

I chose the Akamaru Modern for my lunch, and opted to make it a lunch set for $3 more – which adds on a salad and a rice of my choice. I chose the mentaiko or spicy cod roe rice, which was yummy as I expected (I used to make it myself at home actually… it’s a phenomenal dipping sauce for fries). The salad was just there to make me feel ‘healthy’ (though I ate all of it, of course)… As for the star of the meal, the ramen: freakin’ delicious. The broth was rich, but not so rich I felt like I was eating butter (an issue I had at Totto), while the noodles were perfectly cooked – still a bit of chew to them. The pork was tender, and the miso paste delicious – overall, it was a great bowl of noodles. I still thought it was a bit oily – they actually add oil to the bowl before serving – and my preferred broth style isn’t tonkotsu (pork bone broth), but it’s a solidly delicious bowl of noodles – with a high price tag.

Lunch was a fun time, though it was odd when they started pressuring us to leave. We’d ordered a bottle of sake, and I guess we weren’t drinking fast enough for them as they came over a few times to tell us that people were waiting as 3pm drew nearer (they close for a few hours between lunch and dinner, though I’m sure they could stay open and not hurt for business). They informed us a few times that they could wrap the bottle for us to go, so we finally did so – being unable to finish a 750ml bottle of sake between two girls – but even as we were paying, the server came over a few times to hurry us along. It was weird.

Yvo says: Knowing about their text-when-table-is-almost-ready app, and a nearby bar that charges $6 for a Sapphire & Sprite, I may be more likely to visit when a ramen craving hits than I was previously. The noodles are definitely solid – JKL enjoyed her bowl of the special as well (though it said it was spicy, and decidedly wasn’t) – and the pork buns are delicious – though the prices are kind of high, I think they might be worth it, as long as the wait can be minimized or made to seem little anyway. I enjoyed my experience and I think it’s safe to say I will be back.
recommended (though I still think it’s overhyped)

Ippudo on Urbanspoon

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Comments

19 Responses to “Ippudo”
  1. CheeeeEEEEse says:

    Am I the only honky that doesn’t like mayo? What a strange addition to a pork bun.

    Regarding the ramen, when I saw the pic, I was going to ask if that was red miso paste. Glad that my eye wasn’t wrong. I’ve never actually had miso paste in my ramen. Too bad that the oiliness didn’t sit well with you, I don’t think it would with me either.

    What is your favorite broth, since you mentioned it? Shoyu?

    • I’m sure it was Kewpie Mayo, which tends to be slightly sweeter since it has the addition of rice wine vinegar… And no, you’re not, I know a couple of other people who don’t care for mayo the way I do.

      The miso paste is mixed with something – there’s an official name on their menu that is like ‘special secret Ippudo mixture’ or the like. I think a couple of places do a little scoop of something on top, and some are definitely miso-based… can’t name them off the top of my head though.

      As for my favorite broth, shio is the one – salt based. Ramen Setagaya’s original location (on 1st and 9th) used to do it really well, but unfortunately they opened a bunch of expansions and then closed the original, and the expansions don’t quite focus on shio the way the original did (they have more rounded out menus).

  2. Dina says:

    i love ramen but i hate the wait too. totto is near my apartment. i’d like to try ippudo and the app is definitely persuasive.

  3. Sara says:

    They may deny it, but if you go during lunch time you can usually make a same-day reservation in person for dinner. I usually go just before 3, put down my name for around 6 or 7, then head to the Union Square Movie Theater, take in a good piece of cinema, and show up just in time to cut the whole line.

  4. anon says:

    They need to shorten the wait to keep your business, but it’s weird that they would hurry you out? I guess *everyone else* will just have to wait…as long as *you* don’t have to.

    I’m not sure feisty’s the right word.

    • Rushing someone out isn’t particularly new to me, but being weird or obnoxious about it is never appreciated. I think there must be some disconnect between what I wrote and what you understood me to mean.

      As for feisty not being the right word – please do share what you think IS the right word! I’ve been looking for a new site name, you might have found the perfect one!

    • Corinne Flax says:

      Seems to me they were hustling her out because they wanted to close up before dinner, which would affect nobody’s wait time except the staff’s wait for family meal.

  5. hungry says:

    I like Ippudo very much but could never stand the wait. So I have walked away several times. Wish they would expand.

  6. Dessert Zombie says:

    I am not willing to wait for Totto again but have enjoyed Ippudo in the past with friends. The 15-45mins wait I’ve experienced have not been too bothersome but still greatly unwelcome.

    I had the Akamaru Modern the last time I went too a few weeks back. I really like the lunch set rice and salad addition to the meal as well.

    I have not done dinner service but imagine I will go back for lunches in the future with buddies despite the wait time.

    • Honestly, I felt that because I could leave and do other things, the wait wasn’t so bad. I really like that text-when-your-table-is-almost-ready app. It worked out well for me – especially since there’s so much stuff to do and see nearby (and I was with someone visiting NYC). If I had to wait right there – especially on a lightly snowing day like that one – I might not feel the same about the wait. Totto’s wait at 3pm (I think that’s when we went) wasn’t outrageous, but it was ridiculous that there was a wait at that time. No space to wait inside means there’s no way I would wait for Totto on a winter day.

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