Hello stranger! It's been awhile since Eric or I have posted, but we haven't forgotten about Restaurant Hoppers...our absence has made our hearts grow fonder for it. And what a better place to begin blogging again than Ippudo?!?!
Now, it was only a few short months ago that we went to Momofuku Noodle Bar, which blew our mind. When a friend told me that Ippudo has even BETTER ramen, I couldn't wait to try it and was a little skeptical. The reviews we read online all had Ippudo victorious in the NYC ramen battle. We were in.
Even during the week, and supposedly even during lunch, there is at least an hour wait. The bar was crowded but we did manage to find a spot to sip on some beer and wine until our names were called. We were told the wait would be an hour and a half but it only wound up being 45 minutes.
The atmosphere upon entering the dining room is infectious - the chefs yell as you walk by and the dining room is filled with people slurping their ramen bowls up with big spoons and chatting away. They really do pack you in but it's a surprisingly large space - much bigger than Momo.
We really did a throwdown between Momofuku and Ippudo by ordering the exact same thing at each. Pork buns > ramen. The pork buns at Ippudo had a great sauce and lettuce for some crunch, which was positive, but I must say that the lack of pork meat left a bad taste in my mouth. You only got two good bites with meat before you were left with a squishy bun and that's it! +1 for Momo. The Akamaru ramen bowls at Ippudo are wonderful - large, filled with lots of stuff and a delicious chutney/paste in the middle of the bowl so that when you stir it around, the broth takes on a heavenly, savory flavor. So the ramen bowl did redeem the pork buns, however I'm going to have to give Momo +1 for the ramen battle because my personal taste is in favor of their lighter broth, lots of cucumbers and scallions and the ginger flavor. However, Eric gives the +1 to Ippudo for ramen - to each his own. As I said to him last night, Ippudo gives you the dirty dirty ramen and Momo is a little more healthy-feeling, not as salty.
Overall, Ippudo is worth its "wait" in ramen! But we can't give it the definitive win for Best Ramen in NYC. What does everyone else think?