Ramen is the latest food trend around the world. We decided to enjoy some at Ippudo, an international chain of Ramen based in Japan. Due to the popularity of the place, I expected to wait. We did so at the bar. It's cold at the bar but I waited hoping the experience would be worth it.
Ippudo is the first international chain to introduce the world to authentic Hakata Tonkotsu pork soup. From its modest origins on the Japanese Island of Kyushu to the non-stop buzz of this American flagship eatery in the East Village, Ippudo's ramen is adored and loved by New Yorkers, Japanese and hungry travelers the world-over.
While Ippudo East Village adheres strongly to its roots, embracing traditional Japanese ramen culture as its essential foundation, the restaurant aims to offer a modern and truly unique interpretation that is both inspired by Japan and takes influences from New York. Since its opening in 2008 and all the following years of taking the ramen scene by storm, Ippudo East Village has stayed true to its primary focus of spreading happiness.
At the bar, one beer caught my attention "Kirin Ichiban": Kirin Ichiban is brewed from only malt, hops and water. Unlike other beers, only the first press is used. That's why it's called Ichiban – meaning "first" and "best" in Japanese. "Ichiban Shibori" is a unique method of brewing beer at its purest from a single ingredient: 100% malt. This singular technique gives Kirin Ichiban a unique taste and flavor found nowhere else in the world. The liquid that flows naturally from the process is the first press of the wort. Only this first press of the wort is used to brew Kirin Ichiban. It's the secret behind Kirin Ichiban's elegant and refreshing flavor. A light bodied and fresh beer with no after note of bitterness.
Dimmed lights and music that is more typical for a night club, the restaurant hosts a bar at the entrance, an open kitchen in the main dining area, black decor and a low ceiling. On the menu you find a selection of special appetizers, tofu, seafood, starters, Pork and beef, ramen and nirvana ramen.
What we are eating tonight: Ramen is a Japanese dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork, dried seaweed, menma, and green onions. Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen of Kyushu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.
Half an hour later, the table was ready. I enjoyed the edamame and cucumber offered to us because of the wait. The restaurant is divided into many sections of which the main dining bar, the open kitchen, the corridor and hidden corner dominate: professional staff, a welcoming attitude, positive vibes and now comes the food.
Dinner is served:
- Delicious fries, perfectly fried, enjoyably crunchy and sprinkled with Ippudo's original special salt seasoning.
- Angel shrimp salad comes with a ceremony, emptied from its jar onto the plate. Shrimp, lettuce, beetroot and mixed greens. A fresh salad with a great sauce.
- The Hamachi carpaccio is a sure recommendation. Fresh fish thinly sliced and marinated Japanese-style salsa with a punch of wasabi and the freshness of grapefruit.
- Noodle pancakes served on a hot pan straight from the grill. Crunchy noodles on the bottom, tender noodles above, a load of sauce and decorative flying onion peel. This dish also has premium beef.
- Three wings glazed with their signature black pepper sauce. A juicy heart and a crunchy sweet outer. Not your conventional wings but some finely prepared Japanese ones.
And now for the ramen noodles: I'm so happy to have been introduced to Ramen. It's my first time eating Ramen and I loved it! The noodles, the aromas, the sauce, the meat... I took one of each of the three bowls, finished mine and tasted the others. Each bowl has its special touch, loaded with flavors and leaving an enjoyable after note of richness - complex flavors that caress each of your taste buds.
Don't order dessert, it's not worth it.
I loved the place, loved the food! Recommended Japanese in New York.