Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ippudo Ramen Is To-Die-For

Momofuku ain't got nothin' on Ippudo. Well, OK, David Chang's take on the pork bun is pretty damn good (see left) with its slathering of hoisin sauce and dice of scallions. But I gotta say I prefer Ippudo's (below), which is bathed in a spicy, tangy Korean-like marinade, splattered with a good dose of mayo and given some nice crunch with a leaf of iceberg lettuce.

Don't get me wrong. Momofuku is solid. I make a point of dropping by every time I'm in NY. But having now discovered Ippudo, I know that's where I'll be going from now on. This last visit, I went for lunch with my cousin and had me the Momofuku chilled spicy noodles with Sichuan spiced sausage, spinach, and candied cashews (above); the seasoning wasn't right—the noodles were bland while the sausage and spinach were salty—and the whole thing sat in a pool of blow-your-ears-out insanely hot chile oil. I like spicy, but not when you've gotta take a 10-minute half-time break to stop sweating and wait for the pain on your lips, in your mouth and your ears to subside. Blerg.

On my first, second and third visits to Ippudo, I had the most amazing noodles. This here's the spicy tonkatsu ramen. The broth is super succulent and savory—it's as if the pig bones had been simmered in the liquid for days.

On another night, my cousin and I RAN the 4 blocks from her place to Ippudo to make the 11:30 pm cut-off (we made it with 4 minutes to spare), and we weren't disappointed by the kogashi miso ramen—yummy noodles in a dark, rich broth made from roasted miso, topped with slices of berkshire pork, fish cake, bok choy, and glazed with a layer of oil.

I also adored Ippudo's akamaru modern ramen—the original tonkatsu soup noodles with Ippudo's special sauce, miso paste and fragrant garlic oil, slices of simmered berkshire pork, cabbage, onions, kikurage and scallions.

SB enjoyed Ippudo's shiromaru hakata classic ramen—the original tonkatsu soup noodles with slices of simmered berkshire pork, kikurage, red pickled ginger, menma, a 1/2 hard boiled egg, sesame and scallions.

I think it's safe to say that I managed to hook at least 3 other pals during my forays to Ippudo. Can't wait to go back. "Ramen is Japan's soul food," says Ippudo's website. I can see why.

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