Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NYC 2008: Ippudo NY

My hub and I were on a mission to walk around as much as possible (so we can digest, then eat as much as possible). On our way to the area where many Japanese restaurants/bars reside, we needed a bathroom break. We decided to step into Ippudo, do our thing, and walk on out. While hanging out at the bar, we noticed ramen noodles as décor underneath their glass-framed bar.

and variety of ramen bowls on the wall...

I took a look at the menu and realized this is a ramen specialty restaurant, serving our favorite Japanese ramen – Tonkotsu (pork-based broth)! Hubby’s hometown is Fukuoka, which is where this broth originated. Hub insisted we must put our name on the list and get seated as soon as possible.

After our Japanese Shoju on the rox, we were seated at a round table with two other couples (is this a common trend in nyc?) Hub insisted we each get an order of their 2 ramens offered – Shiromaru Moto-Aji (white pork-based broth) and Akamaru Shin-Aji (red, spicier version w/ secret sauce seasoned with garlic oil). Both had creamy & intense broth, fresh ingredients, tender slices of Berkshire pork, and noodles with good consistency (very slightly chewy, mostly tender).

After a quick search online, I found that Hakata Ippudo is a popular chain restaurant in Japan, self-described as “ramen-noodle brasserie*”, opened by Shigemi Kawahara, who is supposedly known as “ramen king”. I also learned thru, “The secret to the milky broth’s subtle flavor lies in boiling pork bones for 18 hours and reducing the stock three times, while reserving a bit of the broth from each step, and then reincorporating the reserved broths with the ultra-concentrated result of the third reduction.”

(*wikinote: In France, a brasserie is a café doubling as a restaurant with a relaxed setting, which serves single dishes and other meals. It can be expected to have professional service and printed menus (unlike a bistro which may have neither), but more informal eating hours than a full-fledged restaurant. Typically, a brasserie is open every day of the week and the same menu is served all day.)

I heart tonkotsu ramen!

Ippudo NY
65 Fourth Avenue

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