If you live within a fifty mile radius of New York City, chances are you’ve heard of Ippudo a thousand times, it’s ramen legend has been spread all over this town. But I had never managed to get my ramen loving butt in there until my friend Lydia came to town from Australia. With only one day I showed her some of my favorite spots in NYC. We hit up The Blind Tiger for a drink, I treated her to crack pie at Momofuku Milk Bar, and walked her all over the city doing my best to be a good tour guide.
I lived down the street from Ippudo for a hot second and never walked through the doors. I’ll be honest the hour-plus waits scared me off and I told myself that I would only go at a random time to avoid the lines (like a Monday at 3pm or something). But years later I still had not managed to try their ramen. All of that stopped when Lydia came into town; as we walked through the Village we became ravenous with hunger and Lydia wanted ramen so we rushed over to Ippudo hoping that a long wait wouldn’t scare us away!
We found solace in a 20 minute wait and hunkered down in our booth. I was here to eat ramen, so I disregarded everything else on the menu (which I won’t do next time) and went with the Karaka Men Ramen. Not only did it have a soft poached egg in it but also a spicy sauce that just begged to be consumed by me. Lydia went with the Akamaru Modern that is apparently their most popular dish so we knew she couldn’t go wrong!
*The Lovely Lydia with her Akamaru Modern Ramen*
I only got a few tastes of Lydia’s Akamaru Modern but each bite was pure bliss in a bowl. The noodles were great but it was the broth that really stood out. You hear of the painstakingly slow and delicate process of making ramen broth and it was very apparent that they put everything they have into it from the complex flavors emanating from this hearty broth.
*Karaka Miso Ramen with Soft Boiled Egg*
My bowl, the Karaka Men Ramen was a pork noodle soup with a blend of hot spices, topped with pork chashu, cabbage, spinach, onion, minced pork and scallions —-and of course I added the poached egg. The pork belly melts in your mouth, it is so flavorful and perfectly cooked (I am salivating as I write this!). The hot spices added a kick that made me sweat and kept me on my toes while eating. The only thing that would have made this dish even better is if they gave an even bigger serving because I could have eaten that stuff for hours.
We were in and out within an hour and left satisfied but not so full that we couldn’t walk a dozen more blocks! The average wait here hovers around an hour on weekdays and then sky-rockets up to two-three on the weekends!!! But they have a bar in the front for you to have a beer or two while you wait but that means you still have to snag a seat (which let’s best honest is unlikely on a saturday night).
The prices are a little steep for noodles at $15 and up for the ramen base and then another $3 and up for add-ons (more noodles, egg, more pork, etc). I mean $20 for ramen is steep, but you definitely get your money’s worth in flavor!
The bottom line on Ippudo is this…. if you don’t mind hanging around for great food, then this place is definitely a must eat….Ippudo unequivocally lives up to the hype that surrounds it. Ippudo is fantastic but I will always pledge my noodle allegiance to Momofuku Noodle Bar…where I know I don’t have to wait!
65 4th Avenue (between 9th and 10th Street)