Ippudo - EAST VILLAGE
Food Network is not the only one praising this diamond in the rough, although there is a considerable wait time, Ippudo in the East Village is definitely worth it for their outstanding ramen and upbeat atmosphere.
Also featured on Food Network's “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” you cannot blame the huge customer base for their crowed wait around the bar. A tangled mess of one-hour-waiters, it only took them 45 minutes to seat me, which is always better than waiting the full expected hour. Once your table is ready, prepare yourself for the best Ramen I have found in New York City.
“Irasshaimase!” the waiters scream as you enter the dining area, making each and every one of their diners feel welcome and even special. With a beautifully simplistic décor, you feel as if you’re part of a fancy restaurant without the extremely daunting prices.
If there was ever a time to over-order, Ippudo is the place you cannot go wrong. Order the Yamitsuki Goma Kyuri, a delicious Japanese cucumber lightly seasoned in sesame oil dressing. This fresh and crunchy appetizer is just light enough to tie you over before your meal comes. With a pinch of heat, you cannot go wrong with this healthy, $8.00 starter.
The Akamaru Modern ($14.00) is all the rage at this Ramen House and the dish I waited all evening to sink my teeth into. Kakuni and Menma are the companions to this dish, just some braised pork belly and bamboo shoots. Upon sight, you must take in the arrangement of colors stuffed into one bowl of broth-y goodness. With its vibrant garnishes and milky broth, your stomach will yearn for the first bite. Take a sip of silky, sumptuous, and somehow rich broth, making sure to capture every flavor within the first bite. Adding a thick strand of perfectly cooked noodle is the only thing that can improve this dish. One of the best parts about the ramen experience at Ippudo is the $2.00 kae-dama. Finish your noodles before the broth? This always seems to be the let down of a ramen dish but for 2 measly dollars your waiter will bring you an extra “ball of noodles” and place it in your bowl. It’s so good; you may have to close your eyes.
“I’ve been looking for good ramen since I left Japan,” William Kimura, age 27 explained, “This is the best place I’ve found coast to coast in the US so far. If you love ramen you must go here.” Now a Boston resident, Kimura claims that he has yet to find a ramen place that comes close to Ippudo. “Quite simply, it’s amazing.”