Ippudo. I have probably heard about this place one too many times. However, I never really got around to going because, really, is the ramen so phenomenal that it’s worth a 2-hour wait?
Fortunately, when I found out that the wait was only going to be 15-20 minutes at Ippudo Westside, I finally decided to give this place a shot. I don’t know if this was a result of my low expectations, but I was definitely impressed by what they had to offer. When you walk in, the entire staff chimes in to give a greeting, いらっしゃいませ (irasshaimase), meaning “welcome” in Japanese. As you are seated, the warm environment definitely gives an inviting atmosphere to enjoy some good food.
The appetizer list was filled with a remarkable number of dishes that sounded delicious. After debating through the options, we decided to go with their pork buns. Let’s just say that these little buns were consumed without any hesitation.
We tried both non-spicy versions of their Japanese style ramen: Shiromaru Hakata Classic (pictured first) with added menma (bamboo shoots) and nitamago (soft boiled egg) and the Akamaru Modern with added nitamago (soft boiled egg).
The ramen took me by such great surprise. I just didn’t believe that Ippudo would be able to live up to all the hype it was getting. But, I actually believe this is one of the best ramen I have had. After we finished our meal and settled the bill, the staff chimed in together again to wish a goodbye.
Overall, I am glad that this place actually lived up to its buzz. I’m still not sure if I would ever wait over an hour for this, but I definitely would recommend going if there is a reasonable wait time.
Since writing this, I have visited both locations and would definitely recommend the Westside location for a shorter wait and warmer environment. It is also worth noting that Ippudo is a chain of ramen bars in Japan and the New York locations are supposed to be their flagship international restaurants.
After this experience, their supposed rival Totto Ramen will be next on my list!
321 West 51st Street,
New York, NY 10019
Ippudo East Village
65 Fourth Avenue,
New York, NY 10003