A nice dinner out with good friends always feels special.
As we entered the main dining area of Ippudo on 4th Ave in Manhattan, we were enthusiastically greeted by the entire kitchen and waitstaff as they yelled Japanese salutations on our way to the table. We started off with a caraffe of the house unfiltered sake which was pleasantly silky with a subtle sweetness. The pork buns came out fast: perfectly fatty braised pork belly with fresh iceberg lettuce, special Ippudo sauce and a drizzle of mayonaise stuffed inside light, airy buns that were springy and soft to the touch -- the tastiest item of the night! The shrimp fritters special came out next: large fried shrimp drizzled with ebi mayo and finished with black pepper -- simple yet flavorful. Then, classic ramen: chewy fresh noodles, seasoned soft-boiled egg, thin pork loin slices, kikurage mushrooms, pickled red ginger and preserved bamboo shoots in a glossy chicken broth peppered with scallions and toasted sesame seeds -- perfect. A rich dessert to end the night: Lady M Mille Crepe Cake, twenty layers of paper thin crêpes filled with pastry cream, the whole cake caramelized over the top and sides.
We stuffed ourselves and laughed and strolled around after then went home to lay down and recover from the heady high and bellyache of a delectable night out.