NYC
Updated June 10, 2022, Posted September 16, 2018

I had visited Ippudo twice before this time throughout my whole life, once in London and once in the East Village. This original post just had a comment of “Overrated and pricey. I’d skip here any day of the week. Daikokuya in LA is way better”. Because I didn’t take pics of my dinner nearly 4 years ago, I thought about revisiting this Midtown location to try to remember why I was underwhelmed. Let’s just say I now remember why, and it makes perfect sense why I didn’t care for it before.

Ambiance

Like all ramen places, these places are all usually decorated the same. The interior has a lot of maple wood type accents. This Midtown location has a strange section where it’s meant for solo or paired diners to stair at a wall that doesn’t face the kitchen.

The service is pretty fast and straight forward. I was in and out within 25 minutes on a Friday evening as a solo diner.

Food

The Potara Miso ($20) came with Ippudo pork tonkotsu broth mixed with a fusion of several kinds of miso and seasonings, original spiced ball, slow fried onion chips, boiled spinach, corn, marinated pork chashu, and Tokyo thick wavy noodles. In the back of the picture, I also ordered the Treasure Toppings ($9) which came with sliced marinated pork x 4 pcs, a soft boiled egg, and nori (seaweed). I asked them to exclude menma (i.e. bamboo shoots). The noodles were cooked al dente and had a nice bounce/chew to them. The broth was flavored with a lot of salt and fat. The pork slices were quite good because they were tender and not overcooked. The spinach was a disappointment in that some of it didn’t seem fresh as they have the color of wilting. The broth itself was thick but really not enough for all the condiments they provided. The Treasure Toppings addition was just too expensive for what it is. I did find it strange that they left a little chunk of butter. It’s as if this broth wasn’t fatty enough already. This whole ramen meal turned out to be over $30, and it definitely did not leave you with a sense of satisfaction.

The largest issue of I have with the broth is that it has some rich flavors, but compared to many other ramen locations in the city, it’s overrated and not as good because it doesn’t have as much umami in flavor. I think the inclusion of a little butter kind of hinted at this. The spiced ball was just a blend of random things, and it certainly gave it flavors, but if you tried the broth by itself you would be underwhelmed.

Final Verdict

Ippudo for years had a history of being a popular ramen place in NYC partly due to it coming from a major ramen chain in Japan. Thankfully there are many more ramen places here to enjoy, and I rank this ramen place in the middle of the pack. The wavy noodles hands down are good, but the broth needed some more oomph. If you’re in the area and care more for the broth, check out Ichiran which is fairly close by.

Yelp Jabs

I ordered the Vegetarian Nirvana Akamara which was swimming in salt. When I brought this to the attention of the server all he said was would you like me to bring you some hot water to mix into my bowl.

Ramen broth is synonymous with salt and is densely flavored/seasoned. The broth is already made with the seasoning, so it’s not like they can remove the salt from it.

I’ve been going to Ippudo for over 7 years and I’m absolutely shocked at how they have remain my absolute favorite ramen place especially given the competition in this space.

I’m honestly shocked that this Elitist ranked Ippudo that high given the competition. It’s the epitome of underwhelming.

Revisions

  1. Jun 10, 2022 - Added potara miso.
  2. Sep 16, 2018 - Initial revision.