FOOD: Finally! Gluten-Free Ramen Thanks to Ippudo West [NYC]

IppodoWIppudo West opened in July 2013 with much attention as fans of the East Village location had been expecting the West Side flagship for nearly two years.

Feeling left out of many restaurant experiences in NYC, I wanted to visit the much-buzzed about spot for its unique gluten-free dish. Lucky for me, I was met with not just a great dish, but an all-around exceptional dining experience with friendly service and excellent wine (I liked the Cabernet best), which included a glass of club soda to clean my palate in between sips.

Interestingly, “Ippudo” translates from Japanese as “first wind”, or “first of its kind”, and I was at Ippudo for exactly that – a dish the first of its kind – a vegan, gluten-free ramen dish. I ordered the Sho-jin, which the menu explained is “inspired by the intricacies and delicate flavors of Zen Buddhist cuisine”, with broth made from the extract of dried vegetables, beans and seaweed; using Koshihikari rice noodles and topped with kurikinton, sansai mountain vegetables, six-grain rice, goji berries, and framboise vinegar oil ($18). I also ordered a side of pork belly ($4) that was so tender and flavorful, it was too heavy to combine with the ramen broth and had to be eaten separately.

What more could add to this atmosphere of good wine, good food, and a friendly staff? Well, the fact that you can sit back and really enjoy yourself, because when it comes to ramen, it’s okay to slurp!

Ippudo Westside
321 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019