The Insatiable Palate Review #10: Ippudo NY (East Village, New York)

The Insatiable Palate Endures Punishing Lines/Uncovers Ippudo’s Hidden Reservation System

Two months ago, Jon and I started our food mission at Momofuku Noodle Bar. I was scared as hell. The thought of spending over $25 on a meal was terribly daunting to me. Two months later, I’ve learned how to manage my cash flow through The No Spending Money from Sunday-Thursday Plan. No more McGangbang runs at 2am, no more surprise visits to the halal cart, and absolutely no more Two Bros Pizza.

This week’s reward: A chance to devour one of Shigemi Kawahara’s beautifully crafted Japanese ramens. One problem. TOURISTS.

Ippudo is notorious for its long demanding wait times and lack of sympathy for cranky patrons. The thought of waiting two hours for a meal is somewhat appealing, and then becomes unappealing once you realize that YOU ACTUALLY WAIT TWO HOURS FOR A MEAL.
Many visitors give up and re-assemble at a sub-par Asian restaurant at St. Marks. The brave few carry on and eventually immerse themselves in ramen heaven.

The Secret to Bypassing the Line at Ippudo NY: Same day, Walk-In Reservations: Come in at lunch time (11:00 am – 3:30 pm) and schedule an appointment for dinner two hours in advance. Move straight through line at 7PM and watch as the out-of-state lady wearing the fanny pack goes insane about the injustice of Ippudo’s system. Slurp away in happiness.

Portion/Price: A plate of Hirata pork buns will cost you 9 dollars, but it’s worth every penny. Although Jon and I love Momofuku Pork Buns, we now pledge allegiance to Ippudo’s creation. The spicy buns sauce is to die for. I’d drink that shit for breakfast. Our love is same for the Ippudo Ramen. The portions are generous and the pork broth will keep you warm and full for the entire night. By the way, is pork belly an aphrodisiac?

Taste: Although I usually prefer pho on any noodle occasion, Ippudo completely wiped such desires away. The Akamaru Modern is dosed with the Tonkotsu broth and blessed with dollops of miso paste. I topped it with Kakuni (Braised pork belly) and Nitamago (Seasoned salt boiled egg) and loved every single bite. I wish I had ordered the Onsen Tamago (Poached egg) though. Yolk oozing throughout my bowl is a total turn on.

 Better Start Saving Up My Lunch Money

 Shiromaru Hakata Classic for the Ginger Enthusiasts

Word of Advice: If you’ve been waiting for this occasion for a long time, it’s important to walk out of Ippudo with enough to last you through winter hibernation. Invest in the Kae-dama. For a measly $2, your server will bring another serving of noodles. You waited a long time for this moment. Now relish every single bite.

An overhyped establishment, but it’s definitely worth a trip.

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