On February 17th, the day before Andrey turned 26, we invited all of our friends to a bar to celebrate Andrey's birthday. We picked out a bar carefully, deciding on the relaxed, but not overly relaxed, High Dive. Unfortunately there are no pictures from that night...because I don't know why. I don't remember what I wore even- but that's not the point of the story. Here we go: Andrey and I decided that instead of doing extensive research on the neighborhood for a delicious, interesting, affordable restaurant we would just get out of the subway and meander. This is highly unlike my research loving boyfriend- so I happily went with it. We ended up stumbling into Naruto Ramen on 5th avenue and 1st street in Park Slope. The atmosphere was, I think, authentic. Small wooden tables and wooden benches. A long bar to sit at, if you'd like. And Kiki's Delivery Service on the tvs. It was sort of a Japanese-pop theme going on. The ramen was delicious, as far as I was concerned. But my more discerning half (Andrey) said it was yummy, but he wanted more. He thought he could find better. And that's when the research kicked in.

Now, let me clear something up- restaurants that serve ramen are not serving the ten cents a piece product that comes all folded up in plastic. Ramen is a traditional noodle in broth dish from China and now by way of Japan. Ramen is famously difficult to perfect, as seen in the great documentary movie Ramen Girl. (No joke, I love that movie). There is nothing store bought, instant or idiot-proof about the ramen you get in Ramen shops. 

A month later before our first Nerd NYC hosted Boardgame Night at Think Coffee on Mercer, Andrey took me to Ippudo. Not to exaggerate, but it was a life changing experience. Now, I have a bit of a...narrow experience at Ippudo because I refuse to try anything other than the ramen I tried on my second time there (SOLD on the Karaka Men- spicy without being overwhelming, and oh my gosh, for a truly gorgeous taste get it with the soft boiled egg- I literally have dreams about that egg) and the pork buns, but trust me- this is a place you need to get yourself to.

Those. pork. buns. If I lived near Ippudo I would get the pork take out daily. For dessert. Oh my gosh, my mouth's watering just thinking about it.

The Karaka Men, you can see the egg floating in it. The broth is savory and spicy, the noodles are perfectly created and the pork is just, delicious.
I don't even know what to tell you...they're gluten free- and one of the most amazing things you will ever eat in your whole life (no hyperbole).

Here is the rest of my advice for Ippudo: 
  • If you can make it there before 5, before it opens and get on line- you will sit in the first seating. If you can't, don't bother to show up until at least 6, otherwise you'll have to wait for the whole first seating to get up. And you'll be able to smell the food while you're waiting and it will make you want to attack someone's table.
  • Sit at the bar, wait for a spot at the bar. I always do. The open kitchen is responsible for the appetizers and non-Ramen dishes. You will have a blast watching the chefs create. Dinner and a show. 
Have any of you lovely readers ever been? I'd love to hear about your experiences, or even another dish to die over. 

Ippudo, 65 Fourth Avenue (Between 9th and 10th Street) New York Phone: 212-388-0088

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