In the Bay Area, CA there is a place called Orenchi Ramen that has over 2000 reviews. It is THE ramen place to go to, which I have by the way. I was a bit underwhelmed upon having to deal with the wait and finally having the hyped concoction that is ramen. I must say it was good, but the wait didn't seem worth it compared to competitors which I thought were just as good with no wait and a bit cheaper.
Enter Ippudo NY in East Village. Would this be deja vu? Yes there was indeed a wait, BUT their system was much better--ironically. They implement this phone app that updates you on your wait, and automatically sends you text when you are up--again did I mention ironically since the Bay Area, Silicon Valley tech central could not do this, but all the way in NY they can? This allowed us to walk around East Village and enjoy the sights.
So we finally get called up and I must say the vibe, atmosphere, decor, the enthusiasm of the staff was wonderful. All the ramen places I've been to could not beat those categories that Ippudo just set the standard for. We sit in what looks like a community table, since it was only 2 of us, as the booths were setup for big parties which was no big deal. We order, but what sticks out here is the PRICE of each ramen bowl. It will AVERAGE 14-15 per order, NOT INCLUDING TOPPINGS, so that egg you want? EXTRA, it's like $2 more. Ippudo also set the highest price Ramen I've been to.
So how was it? Despite the price, it was very very good. The service, the experience, the food, it was all great. The portion was good, but not $15-16 good.
I would highly recommend trying this place, but I had to deduct a star because despite how great the ramen is, I don't believe the wait and the high price justifies it.
So how does it compare to Orenchi? This place makes Orenchi Ramen VERY AFFORDABLE, on my review at Orenchi, I complained that there were just as good around the area for cheaper, but Orenchi has a FEW bucks cheaper on Ippudo. BUT, Ippudo IMO does taste better, but still not worth the extra $$.
Also to add, staff, service, was top notch. Water was always filled, and our waiter was always on point, never intrusive--seemed to be there at the right times.
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