Review By: Stefanie Parks –
For some reason, I didn’t believe it when everyone told me that there would be a 2 hour wait at Ippudo. I have no idea why, but I just didn’t think it was possible. But, I was very wrong. Dave and I had been talking about going on a double date with two of his colleagues for a long time, and finally we set the date and they suggested Ippudo. I volunteered to go down a little early to put our names down (ok, I didn’t believe there would be a 2 hour wait, but I still wanted to be prepared!). We planned to meet at 8pm, so I went around 6:30. Well, everyone was right. I walked in and the place was so packed, I could barely even walk through to the hostess stand. The wait was an hour and a half, which was perfect.
I walked back over to Union Square to shop around for a bit while I waited (hello DSW!) and then walked back a little before 8 to meet up with Dave and his friends. We sat down, and I immediately requested that we order the pork buns (I read they’re amazing). In addition to those, Dave and I shared the Hirata Chicken Wings, which are glazed with Ippudo’s special black pepper sauce, and then the special Ramen of the night, which was the Kogashi Karaka Miso Ramen. It’s a chicken and pork base noodle soup, a dard, rich broth made from black charred miso, with Ippudo special blended hot spice, topped with pork chashu, cabbage, leafy greens, and glazed with a layer of oil. We also added pork belly and a poached egg.
The pork buns came out first, and now I know why they’re famous. They were amazing. It’s a very simple dish (just the bun and then a piece of pork), but they are so delicious and flavorful. Next came the chicken wings, which were great too. I loved the black pepper glaze on them and they had the perfect amount of spice.
Finally, our ramen came out. I thought that both the broth and the noodles were great, but I didn’t think it was noticeably better than any of the other ramen dishes I’ve had in New York (Momofuku Noodle Bar on the other hand, definitely was). Just twice the price. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious (though I don’t think I’ve ever met a ramen I didn’t like), and Ippudo is definitely a place you should try at least once (mostly just for those pork buns), but I didn’t really think that it was worth the wait or the price. Plus, they don’t let you take leftovers home! What is that all about???