May 27, 2009

Ippudo Ramen - Good if you can handle the crowds

Ippudo Ramen Restaurant
Ippudo is yet another ramen joint which opened in the East Village last year.

The first American location of the wildly popular chain in Japan, Ippudo has had a big following since day one.  I braved the throngs of people last year, waiting over an hour for dinner at Ippudo.

Was it worth the wait?  I'm not as sure as Frank Bruni, who gave Ippudo an effusive review.

To appreciate Ippudo, you must be a lover of all things pork.  The ramen is cooked beautifully and the broth is flavorful. By flavorful, I mean it screams of swine.  For those pork lovers out there, you would be hard pressed to find a more "pork" infused broth around town.

For me, it was a bit much - a little on the salty side and left me thirsty for the rest of the evening.

However, I must concede that the meat was tender and the noodles were cooked to just the right temperature - light, with a bounce as opposed to the soggy versions easily found around town.

One thing I would caution against - go for the ramen and do not stray.  The temptation to order a side of vegetables is there - I know. But, that's where they get you - $7-8 dollars for 2 cucumbers.

Overall, Ippudo is a fine option - but in my opinion not worth the hour + long waits.  For a better option, check out Menchanko Tei.  Go for the Hakata ramen - pork with a rich white broth, scented with ginger.
(photo:Ippudo NY)

65 4th Ave. (10th st)

Menchanko Tei
131 East 45th (Lex and 3rd)

43-45 West 55th (5th and 6th ave)

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