Monday, December 5, 2011

Amazing Ramen at Ippudo

As someone who considers herself a foodie in New York City, I know there are a handful of restaurants that simply can not be missed. At the very top of that list is Ippudo, the famed Ramen restaurant at the edge of the East Village. Notorious for not taking reservations (and not needing to), Ippudo often boasts over a 2-hour wait. I have gone in once or twice, learned of the long wait and left, and I now realize how big of a mistake that was.

Photo courtesy of

The night Patrick and I went for ramen, it was cold and rainy and truly perfect conditions for eating a huge bowl of comforting noodles. When the hostess told me the wait was only 45 minutes, I gave her my name and we happily headed to the bar to wait for our table. After a few beers (for Pat) and a yummy glass of cucumber sake (for me), our name was finally called and I squealed in excitement. While we had been waiting at the bar, a few people around us ordered some appetizers, and the pork buns looked and smelled incredible. We knew we had to get them.

As we were being shown to our seats, the cooks in the kitchen yelled a welcome to us and we were shown to a cozy table in the back. We immediately ordered a bottle of cold sake and an order of pork buns and then checked out the ramen options. We both knew that we wanted to try the most well-known dish on the menu, so we looked up the ramen that was featured on the "With Chopsticks" episode of one of our favorite shows, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. For that episode, Claire Robinson chose the Akamaru Modern Ramen from Ippudo, and so did we: The original "Tonkotsu" noodle soup topped with Ippudo's secret "Umami Dama" miso paste, pork chashu, cabage, kikurage, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil. We both also added a Nitamago (seasoned salt boiled egg) and  Kakuni (braised pork belly). 

The pork buns were, without any doubt, the most delicious pork buns I have ever tasted. A little sweet, a little savory and wrapped in an amazing, light and fluffy bun.I tried to eat it slowly to savor it, but I couldn't help it and it was gone in about 10 seconds. I know it's important to leave as much room for the ramen as possible, but honestly, you can not miss this pork bun.

Now, for the important stuff, the ramen. We saw the two steaming bowls of ramen being brought towards us and we could barely wait to dive into it. I knew I was going to burn my mouth, but it was the most worth-it pain I have ever experienced.
There aren't enough words to possibly describe how this soup tasted. Bold, complex flavors swirled in a sea of perfectly-cooked noodles and other treasures that hid just below the surface of the incredible broth. Patrick and I looked up at each other about halfway through our meal and realized that we hadn't said a word to each other since the food arrived to our table. For those who know us, it takes a lot to shut us up. This soup surely did the trick.

If you have the chance to make it to Ippudo in NYC for ramen, I'd highly suggest you do so. It's a food experience you really shouldn't miss. What are your thoughts on ramen? Amazing bowl of comfort food? Trendy food that won't outlast the test of time? Let me know what you think!

Let's Eat!
-The Fabulous Foodie


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  2. Wow, that looks great! Definitely on the list. The best pork buns I've ever had were at zazu in Santa Rosa, but these look quite tasty as well.

  3. Definitely agree about the pork buns ... amazing, and like nothing else I've tried.