The famous Japanese ramen chain has finally made its debut on the west coast in Berkeley!
With numerous worldwide locations, including two in New York, Ippudo just opened a few weeks ago and lines have been nonstop out the door. Of course I had to check it out to see what the hype was all about!
We went on a Monday around 1:30pm and waited about 20 minutes which isn’t terrible considering I read that some people waited 2-3 hours (absurd). Ippudo’s menu is simple, approachable, and basically serves Japanese “fast food” aka ramen, the way to my heart.
We started off with a few appetizers.
We opted for the steamed pork buns (they have chicken and vegetable as well) and they didn’t disappoint. Fluffy warm buns stuffed with unctuous tender pork belly topped with kewpie mayo (has a slightly addictive quality) and lettuce. Simple yet so satisfying.
I love blistered shishito peppers. Something about them just make the perfect snack. Be careful though, once in awhile you’ll get a spicy one!
Chicken wings are without a doubt a comfort food and these were done well. Supple meat+flavorful peppery glaze=sticky goodness.
Now onto the main attraction…the ramen. They have various broth choices (shiromaru, akamaru, karaka spicy, and shoyu) and various options for toppings. You can also choose the texture of your noodles from soft, medium, firm, and extra firm. We decided on firm as we both enjoy the al dente texture.
Both ramens hit the spot and came with pork chashu, bean sprouts, soft boiled egg, kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and nori. I added menma (bamboo shoots) to both since I love them. The broth had a depth of flavor without being overpowering and the noodles were cooked to a nice firmness, not mushy or too crunchy. The pork chashu had the right amount of meat to fat ratio that melted in my mouth.
I’d say the ramen is pretty delicious and worth checking out, definitely comparable to Mensho Tokyo (my overall rating was lower only because the wait time was outrageous). Therefore, my rating for Ippudo is an 8/10.