I have been to this restaurant several times–the most recent was in their East Village location–and one thing that this restaurant is not, is hard-of-hearing friendly. But the food is oh sooo delicious.
It’s so good, and so well known that in their West Side location, you can sometimes be expected to wait for 20 minutes to an hour, because during prime time, it gets crowded. But it’s well worth the wait.
This is the restaurant that made me fall in love with ramen and pork buns. There’s just something about those buns–the soft poofiness of them, mixed with the bbq sauce of the pork, and the way that the pork melts in your mouth as you chew it, and savor the unique mayonnaise made just for Ippudo. It is a savory, mouth-watering dish that is just the perfect way to start your journey into Japanese Ramen. And honestly, that’s one dish that I would come back to Ippudo alone for, over and over again.
The ramen, well, that’s another story. There are usually two or three types of broth, and over time, I’ve found that I tend to gravitate more towards the ones that are meat based as opposed to the ones that are fish based. The rich tonkotsu broth that Ippudo uses in all of it’s ramen–the Shiromaru Classic, the Akamaru Modern, and the Karaka Spicy–is just so perfectly executed, and savory in a way that brings out the richness of the flavor of each of the distinct ramens. It’s so unlike some of the other ramen places that I’ve tried, because of how rich the flavor is, but it’s also perfectly paired with all of the other ingredients in the dish. It’s a hard feeling to describe because it’s so hearty, so you do have to be there to try it.
On top of that, one of the things that my significant other loves about this place is their Japanese tea. We’ve recently discovered that it’s a Genmaicha tea, with that roasted rice smell, but it is perfect for a rainy or cold day, to warm you up, and give you the feelings of warmth and joy from the inside out.
Lastly, the West Side and East Village location have different vibes. The West Side is brighter, more opened and makes me think of a clean, modern Toyko ramen restaurant. The East Village has darker wall colors and has some wood–with long tables that you sit at with various strangers–and makes me think of an older, hole-in-the wall, only if you know where to find it ramen restaurant in Osaka. It also seems as if the East Village location has a more limited menu than the West Side location, but that may just be my impression. After all, I’ve only been in the East Village location once.
So while the restaurant completely fails in the noise-level department for those of us who are hard of hearing, it completely wins in the taste department. So if you’re in New York, I urge you to stop by and give it a try!