I was in NYC over the past two days on business and thanks to an online post I saw from Shauna Mei of AHALife fame saying that Ippudo was her favorite Ramen place in NYC I decided to find my way there for dinner the other day. In a word, excellent.
When I got there I thought for sure I was in for a long wait because the place was mobbed and the guy in front of me that had a request for three-top was told it would be a one hour wait. However I was a party of one and was seated front row at the bar in two minutes time.
This place is not a quiet little Japanese ramen zen temple – it is an all out ramen party complete with club music and Japanese being shouted to all arriving guests non stop. The staff are all into the scene and the guests all want to be taking in the scene while the guys behind the glass wall in the kitchen are putting out some of the best ramen I’ve had in the USA. All of the flavors are complex but hearty and the casual vibe of the place feels like it’s a local joint.
I have since learned that Ippudo is a BIG deal back in Japan with over 30 locations and that this was the first one in NYC. in any event, Shauna was right and the place is worth going to if you’re in NYC and jonesin for some great noodles and apps.