Saturday, July 30, 2011

Real Ramen c/o Ippudo

On Sunday as we were driving to the park for L.'s kickball game, I noted a small ramen shop and mentioned the fact that I'd never really had proper ramen. This sparked the decision that Monday's lunch would be ramen. Fast forward to Monday. L. and I took the subway into Manhattan and made our way through the serious heat to Ippudo. After just a few minutes' wait, we were seated at the large wood bar-like area in the middle of the dining space. This allowed us to have a view of the chefs, most other tables, and ourselves (there was a mirror). Worst explanation ever. I ordered a Sapporo on draft.
For my meal I did a lunch special set. Which meant the choice of a small rice dish in addition to a specific ramen. For my rice course/dish I ordered the Mentaiko (spicy cod roe) over rice. It wasn't as spicy as I might have expected, but it was good.
While a number of preparations appealed to me in terms of the ramen options (wasabi shoyu ramen I'm looking at you), I decided that for my first ramen experience it would probably be for the best to start out with a more classic version. So I ordered the Shiromaru Hakata Classic, "the original 'Tonkotsu' noodle soup topped with pork loin chashu, kikurage, menma, red pickled ginger, sesame, and scallions." I added a seasoned soft boiled egg to the mix. Unlike pho, or the 'ramen' you make at home, this broth wasn't something you could penetrate with your eyes. It was cloudy, creamy and rich with fat and porky goodness. Nuttiness of the sesame nicely accompanied by the occasional crunch of pickled ginger. The noodles, as many a review of ramen I had read mentioned, had a little springiness to them. Sigh. Now I'm thinking about ramen at 8:30 in the morning.
The mirror was confusing in some way to me. It so totally reflected the restaurant and even though I saw myself in it, I still felt like I was in some way looking at something in front of me instead of something behind me. Weird.

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