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Archive for the ‘east village’ Category

What: Ramen date

Where: Ippudo
65 4th Ave, New York 10003
Btwn 9th & 10th St

A friend of mine who visits Japan every year HATES Ippudo. He warned me, a seasoned traveler like him, that I would hate it too. He told me it’s not like the ramen I had in Japan and I’d be disappointed too. The broth, the noodles, and the prices all had a negative effect on him.

Yet, I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I went twice. I mean, I have to ask, what is up with their noodles? To me, it’s too thin and too much like the Chinese chow mein, and too hard to be ramen. I was, however, fairly impressed by their broth. Okay, so maybe it isn’t like Japan, but it was still good. And I can swear that their they put the oils from which they braise their berkshire pork into their broth, which makes it that much fattier and tastier.

ippudo

If you want noods, you better be sure to go early b/c … they might close on you!

sign

The atmosphere: Very fun and unique. The bar is clear topped with rows of packaged ramen noodles and the walls are lined with ramen bowls. Inside the dining room, there are several areas of seating, including one where every two seats are designed to make up a loveseat couch.

ippudo bar

ramen bar

ippudo seating

The noodles: Upon the recommendation of the waiter, we both ordered the Akamaru Shin, ‘that’s suppose to come with the special Ippudo sauce in their broth. The broth is thick so the noodles do absorb a good amount of the broth, but not enough for me. As with all ramen places, I wished there was more pork. The second time I went, I tried the spicy broth because they took the dipping noodles off the menu.

ippudo noodles

The berkshire pork. Tiny portion, but it was delicious. It was tender, flavorful, and not as fatty as most pork belly.

berkshire pork

Overall, I say it was an experience worth having. The prices are too high for ramen, and I don’t enjoy the noodles, as I’ve said before, but it’s worth it for the broth. Also, go during non-prime times. Don’t do the wait.

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Japanese BBQ.  This reminds me of the korean BBQ, only the flavors are different, but I still get just as excited.

 Are there any Japanese BBQ buffets in New York like there are Korean BBQ buffets?  If anyone out there has any knowledge about this, let me know! 

Two of my friends and I went to Gyu-Kaku one day for an early birthday dinner.  The thing I like about this place is that they offer happy hour bbq meats that change everyday.  We went on a Monday so we got to try the marinated kalbi short rib for 50% off.  I think drinks were also 50% off.  They really marinate their meats well making each piece super mouth wateringly flavorful, but the portions are just too small!

gyu kaku

inside gyu kaku

marinated stuffs
marinated kalbi

steak
more bbq-able meats

bibimbap.jpg
main course: bibimbap: rice cooked in a stone pot mixed with assorted veggies and sometimes an egg with your choice of meat.  I usually go for the bugolgi [beef].  It’s a Korean specialty, but they served it here.

dessert
dessert: aka most wonderful pancakes EVER

dessert

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So I’m saddened to say that one of my favorite eateries has bitten the dust. It’s the small space with the small garden area behind Ramen Setagaya. People are probably paying too much attention to the ramen place to consider going to the hidden quieter gem in the back. I mean, yes, the name, Oriental Spoon makes me cringe but the food is good, the service is good, and the ambiance is good. What more can one ask for? Oh right, a shelf life of more than 6 months.

While I’m probably over-hyping the quality of the food here, I did enjoy my experience and I think that always makes the food stand out more. I must admit that some of the dishes could use a little improvement, but I didn’t think there was anything that couldn’t be improved with time.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember the exact specifics of each dish so you’ll just have to deal with the pictures.

bar
bar area

garden space
overlooking the “garden” area

backwall
interesting wall design

 

We started with a sashimi salad. The selection of fish was small but the quantity was fairly large for a small plate and it was topped with a bunch of shredded daikon.

sushi salad

They have HUMUNGO ROLLS.  Hu-mung-go!

sushi

This is their sampler appetizer platter. Clockwise from the top left: 1. Sashimi with pickled shredded daikon and caviar 2. tuna with a wasabi based sauce 3. sashimi pieces in ponzu sauce 4. tempura eel rolls

sampler

Chicken wings wrapped in some type of bitter tasting dried veggie. Chicken was nice and crispy but it was too hard to eat with the veggie, I had to take it out.

fried chicken

Calamari. Pieces of squid were good sized but it was lacking in the crunch factor

calamari

Pineapple curry chicken.

curry rice

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