On Wednesday night, Lon and I went to Ippudo‘s Ippudo Media Event: the unveiling of their seasonal dishes. If you’ve been reading Foodmayhem for a while, you know that inviting us somewhere, and giving us lots of free food, isn’t enough to get lavish praise from us. We’re wickedly honest, and with that honesty, we both have to say that Ippudo’s ramen is quite wonderful. Note that I said, “Ippudo’s Ramen”, because the appetizers really didn’t impress us. We sampled Octopus Sashimi, some fried fish, a duck appetizer, and a Chef’s Tasting. The duck was the best one but none were memorable or worth really describing.

duck app Chef's tasting
fried fish octopus sahimi

So let’s move on to the ramen. We tried six different ones and each one actually tasted very different and there was several different types of noodles used.

Tori Ramen
“A Chicken and Tonkatsu (pork) broth with salt, Berkshire Pork, hard boiled egg, onions, bamboo shoot, and fish cake.

This is a very basic ramen, the lightest of the six, but basic doesn’t mean bland or boring. It’s full of meaty flavor and 1/8″ wide noodles. The slices of pork were dry and the other toppings didn’t do much either, but the broth is what shines.

Tori Ramen

Tiger Tan Tan Men
” A Chinese-inspired spicy ramen dish made with tonkatsu (pork) broth, served with noodles, ground pork, and sesame paste.”

They say Chinese-inspired, but it also seems a little Thai-inspired, with the sour, salty, and sweet. It was the most complex of the six and I loved the first few bites (especially the thin curly noodles). I would have a hard time eating a whole bowl though, because it was just a tad too salty and heavy on the sesame paste.

Tiger Tan Tan Men

Kogashi Miso

“The dark, rich broth made from roasted miso is topped with noodles, pork, spinach, fish cake, egg, and bamboo shoots, and is glazed with a layer of oil, adding to its complexity.”

This one is truly unique, the flavor of a very dark roast, yet not even a hint of charring. The seasoning is perfect and it feel like a hearty meal.

Kogashi Miso

“A spicy version of the original “Karaka Men” consisting of miso broth , served with ground pork, cabbage, onions, carrots, scallions and spicy paste. Choice of mild, medium, or hot.”

I think this our favorite (even Lon who doesn’t like Miso loved it). While I really liked most of them, this was the one I thought was most balanced, flavorful but not too over-done. I could really eat a big bowl of this one and feel soothed and satiated.

Karake Miso

Tomato Ramen
“Ippudo’s playful take on spaghetti and meatballs. At first glance, this unique ramen dish looks like the Italian favorite, closer inspection reveals chicken and tonkatsu (pork) broth with delicate noodles topped with a bit of molten mozzarella and a scoop of diced tomatoes and herbs.”

Lon liked this one but it was the one bowl I didn’t care for. The use of simple Italian flavors, tomato, oregano, and mozzarella, doesn’t fit in this setting for me, especially the floating pieces of mozzarella. Just to be clear, there are no meatballs in it. Suitably, they use a slightly wider noodle, maybe 1/4″, so it’s closer to spaghetti, and it seems like a lot of thought was put into it, but still, I’m not a fan.

Tomato Ramen

Kamo Ttsukemen
“Cold ramen noodles made from roasted wheat bran served with a duck-based dipping sauce, with slices of tender duck and leeks.”

These noodles had that bouncy texture only fresh noodles can achieve. The duck (ooh, so tender) and the warm meaty dipping sauce, make this play on soba a more wintery meal.

Kamo Ttsukemen dipping sauce

Some say Ippudo is too expensive. I think the price is just right. Their ramen is on a different plane then Menchanko-Tei and Men Kui Tei, and it’s worth paying more for it. The uber long waiting line? Well, that’s a different story. Lon and I don’t ever wait on lines. (I hope they start taking reservations.) I highly recommend trying to go during lunch though. It’s definitely worth trying.
posted by jessica at 08:04 AM Filed under Asian, Events, Favorites, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.