Multiple times I have passed by the East Village Japanese restaurant Ipuddo, but until now, never tried it. "Ramen noodles and a big crowd," I guessed, not quite interested. But wanting to go anti-Momofuku and find a new noodle shop, I decided to go to Ipuddo's Westside location, figuring it might be easier to get seated. I was wrong. It too was crowded. Something good is going on here. After waiting an hour for a seat, I ordered up a steam bun with chicken katsu, or what is known in Latin America as fried pollo.
Ipuddo offers a Tampopo ambiance, more homey than hip. And as you slurp the noodles, there's no hard rock soundtrack to down the din. Indeed, slurping is encouraged. But let's get to the food. The flavors struck me as more Japanese than New York noodle joints, with a bit of whimsy in both presentation and garnish, with a nod to east and west.
As for the ramen,the broth for me was spot on. You could discern the levels of flavor with each taste. The wait staff were well knowledged and friendly, shouting out each order in some unintelligible ritual.
Around the bar the communal atmosphere was enhanced by the ooh's and aaah's and smiles from our neighbors enjoying the meal and discussing food.