Friday, May 29, 2009

Slurpy Goodness

65 Fourth Ave., New York, NY 10003

**** (Definite Must)

Okay, so I cheated on this one. Ippudo is not technically a dive—even by my lazy definition of one. It’s more of a semi-fine dining Japanese chain restaurant that specializes in ramen noodles. At least I got the price right. My $ 13 bought me a hearty bowl of steaming noodles drowned in a flavorful Tonkatsu (pork-based) broth with thinly sliced, slow-roasted Berkshire pork, crunchy cabbage, scallions, and sesame oil, and topped with their “special secret sauce” which I guessed was made from garlic oil and red miso paste.

The Akamaru Modern ramen that I ordered was much more than everything the menu made it sound to be. The in house-made fresh noodles were cooked so perfectly that they would probably put several Italian restaurants in Manhattan to shame. That coupled with spoonfuls of intensely rich broth on that chilly winter afternoon and my day was made.

The zen-like interiors and occasional yells of ‘Welcome’ and ‘Thank You’ in Japanese by the waiters and the cooks who have been brought straight from the chain’s branches in Japan only added to the authenticity of the experience. I actually sat at my communal table for several minutes after I was done with the meal simply savoring the experience I just had. I think the phrase I’m looking for here is slurpy goodness.

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