NYC – Day 7 Part 2, Opinions on Hype

Another snap decision on the train on the way home, and I jumped out at 8th St/NYU to walk back via Ippudo. I was fully expecting to put my name down for a couple of hours later, and go home in the meantime, but was told 15-20 minutes so I waited. It’s very very hyped, so it had a lot to live up to. The gaggle of mostly Asian-looking patrons in the waiting area suggested it may well manage it, although I recognise that’s not conclusive. There wasn’t space for me to get near the bar, so I hung around in as much space as I could find and waited it out beverage-less. 20 minutes later, I was escorted through to the dining area by a distinctly non-Japanese-looking hostess who yelled out some Japanese announcement of my arrival before seating me at the bar. The rest of the staff cheered at this, I expect because it takes so long to seat people that it is a recognised achievement? Maybe they were all shouting greetings and welcomes. Hard to tell, it didn’t seem aimed at me. The waiter wasn’t super-forthcoming with menu help, but I managed to order pork hirata buns and Akamaru Modern ramen with reasonable confidence that it wouldn’t be too much food. The pork buns were delightful, and I sort of wish I’d just ordered half a dozen of them instead of the ramen. Not that it was bad, it certainly wasn’t. The broth was tasty and greasy, although a little scallion-heavy. The soft pork topping was delightful, and the sesame kikurage mushrooms were as good as the ones in the seaweed from abokado that I love so much. The problem was the noodles. I like noodles as much as the next guy, but I like them to hold flavour. Who likes plain noodles? These ones were very thin, and didn’t either soak up or hold much broth between bowl and mouth. I don’t think it’s bad ramen (quite the reverse) I just think ramen’s not my thing. Combining the cheering/welcoming on every diner’s arrival, the high prices ($15 for a bowl of soup noodles) and the rush to turn tables (my plates were cleared the second I put down my chopsticks) I don’t think I’d return, although I don’t want to downplay the food. It was tasty and filling, and the pork buns were wonderful. I wish they did take-out, at least of those buns, then I could have my own opinions that aligned with the hype. As it is, I’m perpendicular again.

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