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Ippudo West, Midtown West

Ippudo Westside, Hell's Kitchen

I recently reduced my “to eat” and “to revisit” ramen lists down to a short list as I’m running out of time here in NYC. Since I loved the wasabi shoyu ramen at Ippudo East, Ippudo West has earned a spot on my “must eat” list, but has always been a little out of the way for me.

Finally visited Ippudo West with fellow bloggers The Dishelin Guide and Johnny Prime. I feel like some joke about a vegan, an omnivore, and a carnivore walking into a ramen bar would be fitting, but I’m not feeling very witty right now so I’ll pass. You’re welcome to submit your jokes below. Here’s a behind the scenes shot from our lunch.

Ippudo Westside, Hell's Kitchen

In typical Ippudo fashion, the westside location was packed. There was a wait for a table for three during peak lunch hours on a weekday, but it was reasonable. The bright interior of Ippudo West is quite a contrast to the cave-like feel of Ippudo East, but the energy and the noise level is the same.

Eggplant & Eringi Buns, Ippudo Westside

Loved the vegetable hirata buns ($8) last time around, and I was happy to inhale an order of these by myself. As good as I remembered… actually, no, maybe better since I didn’t have breakfast that morning and was starving. The crunchy batter and the spicy sauce are what makes these so good.

Eggplant & Eringi Buns, Ippudo Westside

When I was almost done with the buns, our waitress brought out a shot of seltzer water and explained that was meant to be my palate cleanser before diving into the shojin ramen. At $18, Ippudo’s shojin ramen is the most expensive bowl of ramen I’ve had. It’s vegan and gluten-free. This is Ippudo doing Zen Buddhist cuisine, which is known for its delicate flavors. (Think Kajitsu.)

Vegan Shojin Ramen, Ippudo Westside

The broth is made of dried vegetables, beans, and seaweed. Standard toppings include sansai mountain veggies, six-grain rice, and goji berries. It may be a light broth, but it’s flavorful and the goji berries add a nice sweetness. The seasonal topping in my bowl was thick slices of (braised?) bamboo which were tender and juicy. The rice noodles were slippery and softer than I would have liked. They also top it with rice noodle crackers for some crunch and texture.

Overall, elegant, refined, and balanced. If you’re looking for the typical ramen experience (read: rich, satisfying comfort food), this isn’t for you. If you’re open to trying something different and you’re down for a lighter bowl of noodles with clean, bright flavors, give it a go.

Vegan Shojin Ramen, Ippudo Westside

Here are the other bowls of ramen at our table. The karaka-men ($14) has a tonkotsu pork broth with a spicy kick. Comes topped with pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and garlic oil. This one has extra spicy paste (+$2), but that probably isn’t necessary unless you like your ramen hot, hot, hot.

Karaka-Men Ramen, Ippudo Westside

The tori-shio ($15) is a lighter option with a “chintan” chicken and pork broth with pork loin chashu, minced sweet plum onion, shiso leaf, and a little dash of chili flakes. Johnny Prime’s got a nice noodle lift going on here!

Tori-Shio Ramen, Ippudo Westside

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  • Reply
    Jess
    June 15, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Yum looks good! I was very happy with my first visit at Ippudo West too. I am definitely gonna return.

    • Reply
      wazwu
      June 16, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      I usually go to Ippudo East as it’s more convenient for me, but the vegetarian option is different at each location so I had to visit the westside!

  • Reply
    Lauren QS
    June 17, 2016 at 10:55 am

    I was going to go there for my bday dinner but they do not take reservations and for a party of 7 I am sure we would have waited forever on a Saturday night. I have it on my list to try still! thanks for the review :)

    • Reply
      wazwu
      June 17, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      Hope you have a chance to try Ippudo soon! I usually try to get there about 15 minutes before lunch/dinner service begins. Even then, there’s already a line, but you’ll be seated pretty quickly!

  • Reply
    Mitzie Mee
    June 19, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I’ve bee to several Ippudos in Tokyo, but I have yet to visit Ippudo in New York. The Ginza branch of Ippudo was where Poul had his first bowl of tonkotsu:) The vegetarian bowl looks nice too.

    • Reply
      wazwu
      June 19, 2016 at 7:06 pm

      I seriously need to make a trip to Japan. Lots of ramen to eat! Hope you’ll get a chance to visit Ippudo on your next NYC visit.

  • Reply
    NYC Veggie Ramen Roundup – Let's Nom Nom!
    December 29, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    […] Shojin Ramen, Ippudo West Zen Buddhist cuisine meets ramen, and the result is elegant and refined. The flavors are bright and delicate. This isn’t your typical comfort food style ramen, but is definitely worth trying if you’re open to something a little different. Confirmed vegan. Midtown West, ippudony.com […]

  • Reply
    Veggie Ramen Roundup, NYC – Let's Nom Nom!
    December 29, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    […] Shojin Ramen, Ippudo West Zen Buddhist cuisine meets ramen, and the result is elegant and refined. The flavors are bright and delicate. This isn’t your typical comfort food style ramen, but is definitely worth trying if you’re open to something a little different. Confirmed vegan. Midtown West, ippudony.com […]

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