New York NY 10003
At last count, there were 43 Ippudo ramen shops run by Shigemi Kawahara (the self-described "Ramen King") throughout Japan, but New Yorkers still have only one — despite persistent rumors that a Midtown West location is in the works. That’s a problem. New Yorkers have become ramen-obsessed, and given Ippudo's reputation, there’s almost always a three-hour wait (!) —unless you get there at 5 p.m., right when they open for dinner. Worse, the hosts just generally seem annoyed and unhelpful. But these issues aside, the big slurp-worthy bowls of New York City’s best ramen draw customers back again and again (you see them sidling up to the bar to drown themselves in sake to make the wait at the glass-covered ramen bar at the front of the restaurant bearable). Once you do sit down… joy! There’s always the Shiromaru Hakata Classic, described as "the original silky 'tonkotsu' (pork) soup noodles topped with pork loin chashu, sesame kikurage mushrooms, menma [fermented bamboo shoots], red pickled ginger, and scallions." But the various limited-time-only specials are most often the fun way to go. A recent one, the Szechuan-style spicy tonkotsu ramen with black sesame sauce, topped with "niku-miso dame" [Japanese meat sauce], chashu pork, cabbage, cilantro, fragrant shrimp oil, and fresh lime was delicious. -- Arthur Bovino
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- tdmstaff "The Japanese franchise recommends augmenting their secret recipe for umami-promising ramen with pork and cabbage by adding pork belly and boiled egg. It can be hard to get a table, but it's worth it."
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Ramen may play the central role in this Japanese import, but the appetizers steal the show. See the review of this Japanese/Sushi restaurant at 65 Fourth Ave. in Manhattan.