BY Lisa Lindblad
July 19, 2013
I ran. Well, not really ran as the heat index was 107 at 5:30PM when I set out from home, and I more slid than ran to 51st between 8th and 9th to beat the crowds. The soft opening was on the 12th, but Ippudo didn’t need any soft opening. It burst on to the Hell’s Kitchen scene and, when I arrived at 6:15, the restaurant and bar was 50% filled. We got our table and settled in for an early dinner of ramen and more.
Considered the best ramen in New York, the original Ippudo East Village is well known for its steaming, brothy oversized soup bowls of goodness. Ramen were on our menu too, but we had a wide ranging menu of dishes before we got to the ramen. Bacon wrapped pork nuggets, fried chicken bites in cloud light dough pillows, cucumber rolls with a twist, velvety smooth croquettes all went down a treat with delicious cold sake, and my friends had their vodkas and fresh juice which they squeezed themselves at the table.
By the time we waddled out at 7:15, there wasn’t a table left and anxious diners were deep at the entrance. Except they weren’t really anxious because, with the exception of just a few of us, all were polite Japanese patrons who, in my experience, never seem to show crotchety anxiousness. What a great experience!