Few Ippudo is very well known and everyone talks about it. It’s a Japanese chain that made its way overseas with multiple restaurants around the world.
There’s one in Sydney and there’s this location in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Ippudo Westside is a very nice restaurant and it’s a lot bigger than Totto Ramen. There’s seating on the second floor and the queue moves fairly quick like people waiting outside a Best Buy on Black Friday.
The service was very professional and Westernize to cater to Americans. It’s not your typical restaurant where you order from a ticket machine like the ones in Japan. Our waiter had many suggestions and was very helpful; our food came out relatively fast and was still hot when it arrived at our table. This gave us an indication that it wasn’t sitting on the counter long as my buddy burn his tongue cause he didn’t want to wait for everybody’s food to come out.
Now, the food. The menu consisted of a number of items typically found at a Japanease restaurant.
- Akamaru Modern – The bowl was Ippudo’s secret Umami Dama paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil. Ippudo called it “a more bold translation of the original pork broth”, which I found very amusing. The bowl was relatively decent but wasn’t as bold as they have suggested. It was a bit uninspiring as it came with chashu and cabbage. I get the whole modern twist of food but I’m used to beef and mint leaves. Furthermore, I’m used to white noodles instead of yellow noodles. I thought the Akamaru Modern was a decent bowl of pho. I had better.
- Tori Kaarage – Chicken Kaarage is another staple always found on a Japanese menu. It’s like seeing the Original Recipe on the KFC menu. The boneless fried morsels was served with Ippudo’s original spicy mentaiko mayo in a wooden basket. The beer-batter was crispy and it came out scorching hot. This was one of the better kaarage I’ve had in my many years of battling with my consist weight loss. It was a fantastic how they turned the piece of meat’s color white. The Tori Karrage is definitely one of the best country fried steaks I’ve ever eaten.
- Hirata Buns – The two steamed buns filled with lettuce, mayo and Ippudo’s spicy sauce. This was definitely the highlight of the meal. The pork belly was cooked to perfection and the sauce was such a great complement. Everything meshed very well with the buns and I couldn’t wait to put my hands on them. The fluffy yet perky buns were a delight to admire and even more juicy as I sank my teeth into it.
Overall, Ippudo was a fairly good but not great. I found it intriguing that a Japanese restaurant would dabble in a Vietnamese classic like Pho and an American Southern staple dish like Country Fried Steak. There’s a lot of hype with Ippudo like there was a lot of hype with Carmelo Anthony coming to the Knicks. However, both didn’t live up to expectations.
Yeah…I said it.
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- Service - 7.5/107.5/10
- Presentation - 6/106/10
- Flavors - 7.5/107.5/10
- Decor - 7/107/10
- Ambiance - 7/107/10
Japanease Ippudo makes its way across the ocean to give its interpretation of American Classics like Country Fried Steak and Vietnamese dish like Pho. The dishes were good but not worth the hype like Carmelo Anthony. It makes me wonder if New York was left disappointed like the Knicks’ past seasons.