Ippudo, Ebisu 一風堂 恵比寿

Ippudo, a Hakata-style ramen chain, comes highly recommended by the ramen cognoscenti and has even opened a branch recently in New York City. Usually it requires a bit of a wait to get in causing me to walk on by, but on one recent Saturday I saw some spare seats and managed to get away with just a little wait outside in the cold. Once you do make it inside, you will be greeted by a bustling, crowded dining room with shared refectory-style tables featuring lots of condiments in jars such as pickled ginger, fresh garlic (crushers as well!), chili bean sprout in sesame oil and a green vegetably-one I cannot identify.

Their specialty is a milky, rich, but not too oily tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen. I ordered this with the works which entailed a supplement of 5 or 6 nori sheets and some extra negi served on the side. My dining partner ordered a tonkotsu ramen with chawan mushi in it, which I've never seen before but am assured was delicious.

Personally I wasn't that taken with it, feeling that the flavours were a little muted and the soup kind of lukewarm (but I'm not a huge fan of tonkotsu in any case). I'm a bit of a barbarian with ramen, deliberately ignoring the subtelty of flavours, preferring to be hit over the head with the more explosive tastes to be found at Kohmen whose black tan tan men is currently on top of my ramen hit parade. Also highly recommended is Bannai Kitakata ramen where you have to see to believe the amount of scrumptious bbq pork they serve in their bowls!



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