Address: 65 4th Avenue, New York, NY 10003
A little while ago, my college friend Ryne was journeying out to the NY / NJ area to visit another one of our friends Daniel, who is studying at Princeton. With his visit coinciding with one of my breaks between shift, I traveled up north and spent a day in NYC with the two of them. Daniel made the recommendation to stop in at the Japanese ramen shop Ippudo for lunch.
When you hear ramen, you might think of the dried styrofoam Cup Noodles or perhaps those dried rectangular noodle packets that you might find at your local supermarket’s shelf. No, my friend, that is not the case here. A ramen shop like Ippudo is where you get the true essence of what ramen noodle soup is: fresh noodles immersed in a rich, aromatic broth containing scallions, mushrooms, bamboo, or even a poached egg. It is also common to add meats like roast pork or braised pork belly as well.
Daniel had been to the restaurant before and made a few suggestions for what to get. He strongly insisted that we try the pork bun appetizers because of how good they were. With only two buns per order, we decided to get two orders instead: one with pork and the other with chicken. Both of them ended up being really awesome, although my preference leaned more towards the pork. The excellent combination of the tender meat, spicy sauce, crunchy lettuce, and steamed bun captured great flavor with the textural variance to match.
For their ramen noodle soups, they have a moderate number of choices, giving you choice of types of broth, meat, and spice level. I stuck with the Akamaru Modern bowl, which had a pork-based broth infused with miso paste and garlic oil, topped with roast pork, mushrooms, scallions, and cabbage. With that being just the base bowl, I also had the option to add more items into the mix (like bamboo, more pork, vegetables). In the end, I opted to go for adding in just the poached egg.
I think that the singular thing that tied everything together so well was that delicious broth. The savory notes from the broth soaked into the noodles and contrasted with the slight bite from the scallions. The thin slices of roast pork were nice and tender, made even more so by sitting in the broth. The runny yolk from the poached egg cooked a little in the hot broth and became strands that mixed in with the noodles. At the core of every noodle soup is the broth, and Ippudo really nailed it.
Here are my rankings for Ippudo NY:
Food: 5 / 5
Their ramen noodle soup was fantastic, stocked with great flavors and very filling for a meal. Those pork buns, too. You keep giving me those and I could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5
I liked the restaurant’s black interior with the wooden tables, as it was a nice contrast. The table’s chairs were pretty funny in that one side didn’t have an armrest, so that certainly got Ryne confused initially. Even though the tables were a little packed in, it never felt like the dining room got too loud.
Service: 4.5 / 5
Our waitstaff was very prompt in getting us drinks and food ordered. It looked like the restaurant was full (although we only waited about 5 minutes, which was pretty lucky), but the food got out to us in good time.
Price: 4.25 / 5
For those looking to grab a cheap bite to eat, this might not necessarily be your best option. What you do pay for, however, is the ambiance, authenticity, and overall food quality, all three of which I would certainly pay for the meal price again.
Overall: 18.25 / 20 (91%)