One of many restaurants that needs pretty much no introduction, Ippudo claims the #2 spot for ramen in New York City. Always packed, in an exciting way, you can pretty much indefinitely expect a 2 hour wait. While Ippudo does not take reservations, they will allow you to put your name on a list, take your phone number, and call you when your table is ready.
Every time I’ve been to the noodle house was with a group of 5-8 people, and every time we’ve sat out the 2 hour wait just a half block away, getting sufficiently drunk before our meal, at Spice.
Once ready to be seated at Ippudo (your entire group must be there) you are brought to your seat in the back of the restaurant, and a round of cheers by all the workers welcomes you as the hostess makes a note that new customers have arrived. It’s quite exhilarating, having a group of people cheer as you walk in, reminiscent of the way it must feel to be Norm from Cheers.
Besides the amazing ramen, there are two menu items here that I’m extraordinarily addicted to, and are not to be missed…the Steamed Pork Buns and the Shishito (lightly fried peppers). The pork buns are the kind of thing that make you have random cravings and go on wild-goose-hunts for a Korean bakery near your job that your co-worker swears is there, with something similar, that you of course never find. And the Shishito is an almost one of a kind item, which is most similar to a dish I had in Madrid, Spain and have dreamed of ever since. You could imagine my excitement when I found these here, almost 4 years later. I will eat at least two orders of Shishito by myself…so always order three since the table usually enjoys them too.
The Tori Ramen is usually my bowl of choice, with the addition of two Nitamago (seasoned salt boiled eggs). The soft boiled eggs are my favorite addition to the ramen, and the salted ones add an extra spice to the mix. While I can never finish the entire bowl, Ippudo has to date the best ramen I have ever had, and a friend who has spent time in Japan recently said that it is the closest they have had to traditional ramen in its mother home.
All in all, the 2 hour wait is well worth it…look how happy I am about that pork bun. 🙂
65 4th Avenue
New York, NY 10003