Last night, Ippudo was packed, and everyone seemed to be yapping about the Grub Street piece with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto going on an East Village ramen tour and liking Momofuku Noodle Bar best. "Seriously? Did you read that? Was it because Chang was there serving them?"
Yeah, probably. Mutual chef respect. We think Ippudo should have been first, especially after trying the new seasonal flavors last night. Here they are, judged on a DO NOT WANT to WANT scale.
WANT: (above) Tiger Tan Tan Men (spicy pork broth, noodles, ground pork, and sesame paste). Good full-bodied pork flavor. Available now for lunch, $12.
DO NOT WANT: Tomato Ramen ("spaghetti and meatballs"). Weak tomato sauce flavor, inappropriately herbaceous, and basically just a notch above Chef Boyardee. Italian grandmothers everywhere disapprove. Available in December, $12.
TOTALLY WANT: Tori Ramen (chicken, pork broth with Berkshire pork, hard-boiled egg, bamboo shoots, fish cake). Soul-warming broth perfect for the coming cold weather. Jewish and Japanese grandmothers approve. Available now for lunch, $12.
MEH, DO NOT REALLY WANT: Kamo Ttsukemen (cold wheat bran noodles with duck dipping sauce and duck slices). Not that exciting, but edible. Broth was tasty but should have been skimmed. Available in December, $18.
TOTALLY, YES YES YES, WANT: Kogashi Miso (dark roasted miso broth with noodles, pork, spinach, fish cake, egg, bamboo shoots). Little charred dark bits gave it a comforting roasted flavor. Available in December, $13.
The sixth seasonal ramen flavor, Karaka-Miso (not pictured), comes in mild, medium, and hot flavors. We ordered the medium, and though it had a nice, pleasant kick, it was otherwise unremarkable. Of course, our taste buds were already overwhelmed by five other ramens, which could have affected our experience.