Though my stops have been relatively few and far between, I'm intent on slowly working my way through visits to what are widely considered some of the top spots in Manhattan for ramen. Rai Rai Ken came first, followed by Momofuku and Ramen Setagaya (which is now known as Ramen Kuidouraku). Earlier this week, just before crossing town and jumping the train back to Philly, I added Ippudo to the list; really, though, I should say we, as I was back in action with Joe and Nattles, the same crew from last fall's visit to Setagaya.
Back to those prices — if you're going to fork out $13 for lunchtime ramen, you may as well throw in an extra three bucks for the "set," as that modest upcharge will net you a nice little soy-ginger dressed salad and a surprisingly substantial side. Of the four available choices, I went with the broiled eel, classically prepared and set atop a bowl full of slightly sweet sticky rice.
I'll return to Ippudo without a doubt. Overall, it was a more than satisfying experience. I'll even go for the ramen again; I liked it more than my description above may have made it seem. That said, I'll go at dinner rather than lunch, or on a day when I'm feeling the call of the bottomless pit. Perhaps on a wintry day, when that slightly out of balance richness may be brought into check by the elements. Conversely, I won't go when I'm craving that certain ramen fix, something I'm much more prone to at lunchtime, when I'm usually looking for simplicity, lightness, comfort and a sense of being left energized at the end of the meal. For me, I'm coming to learn, that means shio ramen, served in a no-nonsense setting.
65 Fourth Avenue
New York, NY 10003