My friend and food stylist Karen Stylist never fails to surprise me. On set, her nickname is “Ninja.” She’s quiet and stealthy, coming up with thoughtful nuances that make a shot. We’ve worked together on about six projects. For our New York City trip, she had a little hit list or restaurants, and Ippudo Ramen was on it.
Karen is singular in her resolve so I rarely mess with her. Plus she does her homework. Ippudo Ramen is a carefully styled Japan-export with only one outlet in the States – in New York’s East Village. We had to go.
All week long, we planned our meals around our business appointments. However, for Ippudo Ramen, I ditched my conference so we could easily snag two seats for lunch. That Sunday afternoon, the wait was 30 minutes for the two of us. Larger parties had to wait at least an hour.
We only had room for two bowls of ramen and opted for the “special” of kasana black ramen made with a rich pork and chicken broth. (The “black” refers to black fermented garlic.) The other was shiromaru hakata ramen. “Hakata is where tonkotsu [milky rich pork broth that’s so popular these days] came from. If they say Hakata, it’s a promise of purity. I have to try it,” Karen said. And so we did.
Before getting into nitty gritty, a sense of the place. Ippudo Ramen is carefully styled and ultra cool. Note the pants on the guy in the photo above. (It was dark and Karen had to shoot quick, hence the quality.) Fooling around with my iPhone, I made this little movie from our ramen lunch: