A few weeks ago, a friend and I had a pre-show dinner at Ippudo‘s midtown location. We were going to a Christmas concert at Carnegie Hall that evening and Ippudo wasn’t very far away. Even though we were part of the early dinner crowd, the restaurant was pretty full when we arrived but thankfully, we were seated quickly.
We started off with two appetizers: a plate of shishito peppers served with yuzu salt, and the Suzuki Hakusai which was steamed sea bass served in a wrapper of napa cabbage and tofu skin. I love shishito peppers (my sister grew them one year in the yard, though some of them ended up spicy thanks to the bees’ cross-pollination) and these were pretty tasty; I could’ve eaten more of them. The Suzuki Hakusai was just as delicious though I can’t remember much about the dish except for the very tasty crunchy noodle decoration on the side.
I’ve already tried two of the ramens from the regular menu. It was my friend’s first time at Ippudo so she ordered the Karaka-men, which was what I ordered on my last visit here. For me, I wanted something different and ordered the Sho-jin, which is the vegetarian ramen.
The waitress tried to dissuade me at first, emphasizing that it wasn’t very much food and I might be disappointed with the small portion but I insisted. I also had a late lunch that day so I wasn’t too hungry at that point which was fine for me. The Sho-jin came in this big bowl and the ramen was topped off by a nest of fried rice noodles. Beneath that were some mountain vegetables and the noodles itself. I thought it was very good and tasty and it satisfied my stomach.
And since we has time to spare before the show, we also ordered dessert. My friend ordered the December dessert special; I can’t recall the name of the dish but it was slices of baumkuchen served with cornflakes and a small scoop of coffee gelato, I think. I went for the Hirata Milk, a parfait of green tea ice cream and jelly, red beans, mochi, with a shot glass of coconut-almond milk on the side. I poured the milk into the dish and happily ate it up. It was light and refreshing, a terrific way to end the meal.