Friday, August 19, 2011

R&F+Japanese TV @ Ippudo! 08-18-2011

Location: 65 4th ave.
Time: 7:30pm
People: 12 Ramen and Friends: ALev, MGru, SaSha, Effie, JT, BLee, RB, Gisela, LauraE, RoGo, Alexis and myself PLUS Japanese TV crew filming us slurp the noodles!

Feelings: I received an unexpected phone call. A TV Tokyo producer from my father's favorite show in Japan, "Ariehen Sekai!" wanted to film our monthly Ramen and Friends outing for a ramen in America segment. I was excited and hesitant. After all, gathering the right number of people at the last minute is incredibly challenging. But the VIP treatment, a great group, and 50% off the bill at Ippudo made all my stress melt away in the end.

Getting a table at Ippudo on Thursday night usually requires an hour of wait, perhaps two, but we were escorted to their back table shortly after we arrived exactly at 7:30 PM. Do people like Ippudo because of the wait and expectation? Would their broth and noodles be as tasty if I don't have to build up anticipation?

The answer was yes. Their noodles were incredible regardless of the wait. The top-notch high end service definitely helped, but both the broth and noodles held clean, dense and sophisticated flavors. "If I had never been to Totto, I'd think Ippudo is hands down the best. But Totto definitely gives it some competition," said SaSha. Both Totto and Ippudo serve some glorious ramen, but if you want more up-scale, schleping Louboutin worthy spot, Ippudo is the place.

Ippudo regulars ALev and MGru and most of the guests in their general vicinity ordered "Akamaru Modern" ($15, miso paste, chashu, cabbage, kikurage, scallions and garlic oil). MGru wished her egg topping was hard boiled instead of soft since it would create a nice texture difference. SaSha thought the noodles had the perfect texture, and the broth was porky and rich. Contrary to MGru, SaSha thought the soft boiled egg added an extra layer of silky richness. While JT thought the noodles were a little on the overcooked side, he thoroughly enjoyed the broth and eloquently referred to it on camera as "pork milk." He added, "I would happily pour the broth on my breakfast cereal."

My "Wasabi Shoyu" ($15, soy sauce and vegetable based, topped with bean curd, wasabi, menma, spinach, nori, scallions and wasabi infused oil) was light and resembled a hot bowl of Tokyo style soba noodles. The noodles were thin and chewy, and it was overall a perfectly dreamy bowl of noodles.

I know that many people tend to think Japanese food is healthy, but ramen is quite caloric and high in sodium. In order to prevent unwanted heart burn and fat intake, I always drink oolong tea ($3). Oolong tea supposedly helps absorbing extra fat content you consume. I don't know if that is 100% accurate, but I love the taste of oolong anyhow.

After the TV crew left and we finished our soupy noodles, we all went to Sundaes and Cones nearby. It was gratifying to know that I was with a group of exceptional people who truly appreciate the diverse New York culinary culture regardless of the presence of camera. In this Facebook era full of self absorbed people who seek 15 minutes of fame, it was swell to be able to spend time with them and know that there are great people out there to share tasty bowls of ramen with.


kim said...

Yay! You're famous! I watched a lot or variety shows when I was in Japan. Some of the 'unique' stunts the hosts did just make me scratch my head. A re??? Hee.

Yosh. O said...

Haha thank you! Japanese variety shows are so obscure but funny sometimes.

ALev said...

Ippudo! When will it air?

Yosh. O said...

Here's what she said, "Thank you for your cooperation and time!
I am not sure how much footage will be used in the show until last minutes but I will update you as soon as I find out about."

Jenn said...

So glad everything went off without a hitch and a good amount of people were there. Sorry to miss!

Yosh. O said...

It was soooo stressful overall!!