Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ippudo

For a long time, Mr. Peanut Head has been trying to convince me to go for ramen. It hurts me to spend so much on it, I always claimed. I know that it takes a lot of work and effort to make the broth (I sometimes make my own broth) but I can't fathom why I would pay upwards of $10 for a bowl of ramen. It's considered street food in Japan. Street food here in NYC doesn't cost nearly as much either. But finally one day, he convinced me. And boy was I glad to admit I was wrong. We ended up at the ever so popular Ippudo in the East Village. Always packed, it's a popular destination even though there are several other ramen places just a couple of blocks away. They don't take reservations (the way ramen shops ought to be). We waited for about a half hour on a Wednesday night before we scored a table. *My camera ran out of batteries this night. I apologize for the following pictures. They were taken with a camera phone instead.* I first ordered a drink that contained shoju and grapefruit juice. Then I was presented with this. Talk about fresh squeezed juice! I began squeezing my own half grapefruit to add to the cup of shoju drink on the table. It was work but I'm glad for it. It certainly made the drink really refreshing. First the appetizers. We each chose a few to share. We started off with Yamitsuki Goma Kyuri (japanese cucumber mixed with sesame oil dressing - $7). This was really good. I normally do not like cucumbers but this was really refreshing but very flavorful. Next, Hirata Chicken Wings (fried chicken wings with Ippudo special black pepper sauce - $10). These were delicious. They were crispy but very juicy. The flavor on the chicken was so good. I could just eat a plate of these for dinner. Also for appetizer, Eihire Tempura (dried ray fish fin tempura - $8). It came with some aioli. It was interesting. It reminded me of the shredded cuttlefish snack that you'll often find in Chinese supermarkets. Not the big crowd please. It didn't taste bad. But I don't think people will order it again. Lastly, some Hirata Buns (steamed buns filled with pork and served with Ippudo original spicy buns sauce - $8 for 2). These were so decadent and flavorful. They used pork belly in it and it was so fatty and good. The sauce was fantastic. Then we moved onto the ramen. I chose Kogashi Miso (tonkotsu based noodle soup, a dark, rich broth made from roasted miso, topped with slices of Berkshire pork, fish cake, green bok choy cabbage, and glazed with a layer of oil - $14). I also added an extra poached egg ($2). You know me and my poached eggs. Love them! The ramen noodles were perfectly cooked. They still had some bite to them though they were soft and delicious. The broth was fantastic. It was so savory and good. The layer of oil on top was so rich. I couldn't imagine making this broth at home. It was truly a master's work. I was really happy and full. Some other ramen: Akamaru Modern (the original tonkotsu' soup noodles with ippudo's special sauce, miso paste and fragrant garlic oil, slices of simmered Berkshire pork, cabbage, onions, kikurage & scallions - $13). And Shoyu Ramen (soy flavored ramen noodles soup, a combination of chicken and tonkotsu soup, with slice of Berkshire pork, cabbage, naruto, & scallions - $13). I'd like to note that you can get Kae Dama (a second serving of ramen noodles) for $2. The way it works is that you keep some of the broth in your bowl when you're finished. Then they bring over some more cooked ramen. You take it and mix it into your broth. I think that's a good deal for those who can eat a lot of ramen. And it's certainly cheaper than getting an appetizer. Everything was really good. I am glad that my friend brought me here. I would definitely come again. Even though $14 is pricey to me, it's something that I can not replicate at home. In fact, I don't think I can even get close to that amazing broth that I had. Needless to say, I ate everything and drank the broth at the end. So good. Ippudo NY 65 4th avenue New York, NY 10003 (212) 388-0088 ippudo.com/ny

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