To celebrate the start of winter, with the snow piled on the streets of New York six-feet high, the foodies headed out for the kind of meal that not only warms you up physically, it warms you from the inside out…We passed on the traditional comforts - mac & cheese, meatloaf and mash potatoes and opted for comfort food Japanese style, ramen. We choose Ippudo located on the UES.
Some very important facts before we share our “feelings” on the evening:
1) Ramen noodles are way more complex that that instant noodles that you got through freshman year of college. Good ramen noodles are hand-pulled. )What does that mean? Check out this video from the New York Times and their awesome Dining reporter Julia Moskin). Ramen is the official food of Japan (although it is believed to have been conceived in China) and is considered a staple in Asia—today most Asian cultures have there own form of the dish.
2) With NY-based chefs like David Chang and his Momofuku empire, ramen has grown significantly in popularity (see my Oct 28, 2009 post on Momofuku)
3) Ippudo, our pick for the evening, has 40 locations in Japan and has been around in more than 25 years. The NY location is its first forray outside of Asia.
4) The restaurant does not take reservations and even on a Tuesday there is a wait… a long one. Even with several feet of snow on the ground and on a “school night” we waited for more than hour….
At the bar, we partook in some excellent cocktails while we waited… and waited… Once we were admitted into the dining room, there was a certain bustling in the air. The wait staff shouts at each other in Japanese (including the Americans). We sat at a big round communal table. We were hungry.
Cutting to the chase… the pork buns were out of control… literally the best I’ve ever had… It was like eating perfectly cooked, not too fatty piece of pork belly on little clouds. The buns were so light they melted in your mouth. I wanted to order more for dessert, but was turned down! We also got a short rib and fried chicken appetizers, both were great, but if you remember one thing from this post – GET THE PORK BUNS!
We then shared two ramen dishes a Tori Ramen a classic ramen dish with a light, clear broth, pork, soft boiled eggs and other goodness. We also shared a special, darker ramen on the menu for the winter season.
If you like noodle soup, pork products and salt, Ippudo could easily become your favorite.
65 4th Avenue (between 9th and 10th)