Ippudo

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Vegetable Ramen (IPPUDO) by Hidehiro Kigawa

Kuro-Obi Ramen, NYC

While Ippudo Ramen has had tori paitan ramen (chicken based broth) on their menu since 2009, it turns out they were never happy with it. So in early 2014, they finally perfected the soup and added the new recipe, which involves “a process that takes over two days to extract the maximum umami of chicken”, to the menu of their Ippudo Westside location. Now it turns out that Ippudo is so happy with their tori paitan ramen they felt confident enough to open a new NYC ramenya specializing in it… Kuro-Obi Ramen!

Kuro-Obi, or “Black Belt”, is located inside the new City Kitchen food hall on the second floor of the ROW NYC hotel on 8th Ave…

It also marks the first time any Ippudo branch is offering ramen to go, with the recipe supposedly adjusted to make it “more friendly to the perils of “take away ramen””…

I tried their Shiro-Obi Classic, the simplest of the three paitan offerings on their menu, served only with scallions and char siu pork belly as toppings…

I have to say, I was quite impressed! The soup was thick and flavorful and exceeded my expectations as I often find bone broths a bit watered down in American ramen joints. That was not the case here; full of fat and flavor…

The noodles, which are made in-house by Ippudo, were light and springy and held up perfectly to the thick soup…


I have not always been the biggest Ippudo fan, to be honest. I thought the lines were always ridiculously long and that their ramen just never lived up to the hype. However, Kuro-Obi has changed by mind. This is good ramen! The kind I usually don’t expect to find outside Japan.

However, the one thing that will keep me from going back to Kuro-Obi is their pricing; this bowl was smaller than any bowl of ramen you normally get in NYC and cost me $13!! But I blame that more on City Kitchen’s rent, as every food stand located there was forced to raise their prices.

If you’re looking for a satisfying bowl of ramen in Midtown without having to wait in long lines, and don’t mind paying a little extra for it, Kuro-Obi is worth checking out!


KURO-OBI RAMEN DOJO

Inside City Kitchen

Row NYC Hotel

700 8th Ave.

NY, NY 10036

http://www.ippudony.com/

Ippudo Ramen, Tokyo

We held our second “Marvel x Ippudo” ramen pop-up in Tokyo a few weeks back at Ippudo’s Minami-Aoyama location…

Just because we were eating specially-created bowls of Captain America and Iron Man ramen at the event, that didn’t stop me from enjoying a bowl of their famous “shiromaru” pork-based ramen between services…

Featuring two different kinds of roast pork…

Ippudo lets you chose between four kinds of noodle preparations, I went with “kata” or hard noodles, on the recommendation of the chef…

Also got an order of their gyoza with red yuzukosko for dipping…

This location will unfortunately be closing next month as the building is being torn down, but there are plenty of other Ippudo locations all around Japan for you to enjoy their shiromaru or akamaru ramen!

http://www.ippudo.com/

Sake Bar at Ippudo Midtown, NYC

Ippudo Ramen here in New York City is famous for two things: their amazing tonkotsu ramen, and the hour-long lines people wait in to get a bowl of it.

Now Ippudo Midtown on West 51st. has taken steps to make that wait a little more bearable by opening Sake Bar, a warm space in the front of the restaurant where folks can enjoy a cold beer or a glass of Japanese sake while waiting for a seat…

Eataku was invited to the grand opening and I wanted to give you guys a look. Here you go…

As is common at auspicious occasions and celebrations in Japan, Ippudo had a barrel of sake on hand for the opening, which was provided by Hakkaisan Sake from Niigata, Japan, who sponsored the event…

Tim Sullivan, Hakkaisan’s sake ambassador, and Ippudo’s ramen master Fumihiro Kanegae were both on had to hoist their hammers and break open the barrel in a traditional “kagami biraki” ceremony…

After drinking the Honjozo sake from the barrel, we were invited upstairs to Ippudo’s private kitchen & dining room for an exclusive sake tasting and food pairing…

First up were glasses of Hakkaisan’s mildly-sweet sparkling nigori sake…

The first dishes were treated to were Japanese squid salad…

“Dashimaki” rolled omelets…

And ohitashi spinach with shaved bonito…

A bottle of Hakkaisan’s junmai ginjo was opened next…

Served with seared mackerel, cucumber in sesame oil and this amazing Scotch-marianted pork belly, or “buta kakuni”…

Then it was on to Hakkaisan’s “futsu shu” sake…

With which we got lily bubs with konbu seaweed…

And Ippudo’s outstanding black pepper chicken wings…

We were also able to try Ippudo’s own brand of “cup sake”…

All these varieties of sake are available at Sake Bar, and the food dishes are on the Ippudo menu. Also, as a special promotion during the bar’s launch, Hakkaisan is offering exclusive special blue “hyotan” bottles of their “Gold” junmai ginjo sake…

The bottle can be taken home and the label easily removed so you can use it at home as a vase or container. Plus, the first 15 people who order a bottle each night will receive a special wooden sake “masu” box!

I do frequent Ippudo for their tonkotsu ramen, which I really enjoy, but am always trepidatious about the lines. But now Sake Bar will at least make it a little easier to enjoy a cocktail in comfort while I wait.


SAKE BAR AT IPPUDO

321 West 51st St.

NY, NY 10020

212-974-2500

http://www.ippudony.com/