Pete took me to Ippudo last time I was in NY so when she asked what I wanted to eat for lunch, naturally it was a no brainer for me. Ippudo!
We started off with an order of pork buns for appetizer. These were amazing! It's basically a slice of fatty pork, smothered in a spicy sauce with some mayo and lettuce in a steamed white bun, kind of like the white buns you get at Chinese restaurants. The flavor and texture combo is divine. The bun is fluffy and soft and the pork just melts in your mouth. Forget the Korean taco trucks, someone needs to start an Ippudo pork bun truck and bring it to LA.After I finished the pork bun, I noticed two guys sitting across from us with various plates of food in front of them. I couldn't help but stare at a plate of what looked like steaming hot green peppers. They looked so interesting (the peppers, not the guys). I asked Pete what that was and she said they were fried shisito peppers, a popular bar food item in Tokyo. Pete saw my covetous glances and told me to just order it so I did. They were delicious. Although they look like jalapeno peppers, these peppers are very mild. It came with some lemon salt on the side that you can dip the peppers in.
For the ramen, I ordered the Akamaru Modern, which is the original tonkotsu soup noodles with Ippudo's special sauce (the red paste you see below), miso paste, fragrant garlic oil, slices of simmered Berkshire pork, cabbage, onions, kikurage and scallions. The broth is creamy and rich, without tasting too heavy or oily. I realize that's a poor description, but you just have to try it for yourself and you'll see what I mean. If I hadn't eaten so many peppers, I'm sure I would have slurped the broth to the very last drop.
I probably shouldn't have ordered the set menu, but this was pre-my order of the fried peppers. The set menu consists of a small salad, a bowl of rice with fried chicken, pork or spicy cod roe and your ramen of choice. I barely touched my fried chicken rice bowl, but what I did taste of it was good. But next time, I'd order the pork buns, fried shisito peppers and the ramen and stick with that combo. It is so tasty. This is apparently the first U.S. post for the Japanese chain. I hope they consider bringing it to LA one of these days.