I love good ramen, and I’ve heard of this place even before I planned on going to NYC. They are a chain store from Japan, and unlike stupid Ding Tai Fung in LA which tastes nothing like the Taiwan stores, Ippudo was amazing and worth the money. We ordered a tako wasabi, hirata pork buns, and akamaru modern ramen. I was completely stuffed by an amazing dim sum lunch, and my friend wasn’t very hungry either so we shared the three dishes.
This dish is not for people who are scared to venture out of their comfort zone. It was slimy and heavy in octopus taste, not to mention raw. However, I thought it was delicious. The wasabi really brought out the sweet undertones of fresh tako, and the texture was quite chewy. I think it might have been salted (or maybe sea water octopi?), but overall it was a very delicious dish.
Everyone recommends the pork buns here and now I know why. The pork is tender and slathered with a salty and slightly sweet sauce. The buns were warm, soft, and slightly sweet, complimenting the pork perfectly. What made it so unique was the special sauce. It wasn’t spicy, as the menu had said, but it brought tang to the party. The buns were amazingly flavorful, and more than worth your money. As my friend put it, don’t make the mistake of sharing 2 buns between 2 people! Order it just for yourself, you won’t regret it. (We on the other hand, were too full for food in general so that’s a different story, haha).
And finally for the ramen itself. The ramen definitely lived up to the appetizer’s amazingness. The “umami dama” miso paste was red, hence the name of the dish, and I was surprised that it didn’t make the broth red as well after mixing. The broth had a deep umami flavor from the tonkotsu and miso paste. The noodles were fresh and firm, making a nice “snap” when they were bitten. They were on the thin side, but still delicious. The kakuni in the bowl was very well seasoned and tender as well. I did not taste garlic at all, but I’m okay with that because it really allowed the tonkotsu broth to stand out. As with Santouka in San Diego, they had kikurage mushrooms, but they weren’t as crunchy as the ones at Santouka so did not lend as much texture to the dish. However, the noodles were much better so it was still good. The food here is genuinely amazing, and I understand the long lines, even if it weren’t famous.