On my agenda for NYC → “eat a bowl of ramen at Momofuku Noodle Bar.” Upon sharing these plans with the lovely shop people + fellow gourmands at MM6 Maison Martin Margiela in the West Village, I was advised to venture to Ippudo instead. I was really feeling the food vibe Song and Amy of MM6 brought, so I took their advice and set up a dinner date at this East Village ramen noodle brasserie. I never made it to the other noodle bar, but that’s what return visits are for.
The stars aligned which allowed my pal Ibra and I to meet up for a lovely stroll to Ippudo. We arrived 20 minutues before the restaurant opened and found ourselves ten deep in line – we were fortunate to arrive when we did because by the time the doors opened there were at least fifty more people behind us. What’s crucial when eating with NJ is that you must be open to trying anything off the menu. True success is found only in your desire to be adventurous and bonus points if you can hold a conversation. Ibra went above and beyond – he even ordered what turned out to be the best thing we ate, Kamo Sukiyaki (above photo) and for the first time, I found someone who could talk just as much as me.
So what did we order? We started off with drinks, Ibra kept it classic with some Sake and I went with a Samurai, made with sake, gin, lime, + apple juice. I was on vacation, so any chance I had, I ordered a cocktail. Much to my delight (I love the pressure), my dinner companion gave me the reigns for our meal and said he was down for anything, but made sure to suggest we order the aforementioned Kamo Suikiyaki first, made with thin slices of duck breast simmered in a shallow clay pot with yaki tofu, shiitake & enoki mushrooms, tokyo leeks, poached egg, and ramen noodles in traditional sukiyaki sauce. HOLY SHIT, right? It was an incredible dish, one that I have not stopped thinking about. A definite highlight for me.
I spy Ibra
To rev up our palettes we began with the Tori-Dango with Sweet Chili Sauce, which was lightly fried chicken tsukune with glazed Ippudo sweet chili sauce. Those chicken balls were gone in the blink of an eye but we weren’t worried because a plate of Ika Tatsuta-Age, delicately coated and fried Mongo squid was on its way out. We noshed on these small plates, talked Kewpie mayonaise and enjoyed the company of our hilarious server who I kept riffing with.
Ippudo NY is known for their ramen and considering that it is one of my favorite dishes, I was super psyched to indulge in a large bowl of fragrant broth with noodles. We both had the Shiromaru Hakata Classic, noodles topped with pork loin chashu, sesame kikurage mushrooms, memma, red pickled ginger, + scallion. I added a poached egg to my bowl while Ibra threw some pork belly to his mix. The piping hot bowl of soup was quite the treat after coming in from the NY cold and really hit the spot. Having a poached egg unlike the typical hard-boiled egg was a nice change of pace and though I enjoyed every bite of my ramen, I couldn’t help but to compare it to better bowls I’ve had here in L.A. That’s what happens when you become a rameniac.
A great meal was had. Come for the ramen but stay for their specials and appetizers. If you don’t want to wait in a line that seems to be endless, show up before they open!
Ippudo New York City
65 4th Ave
New York, 10003