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lanadai Feb 6, 2009 12:34 PM

Is Ippudo still insanely busy? Haven't been in a long time and was thinking about going tonight for dinner around 8 for 5 people. How long would the wait be?

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  1. D...DF Feb 6, 2009 12:57 PM

    I think it's busier than ever. I'd expect a 45-minute quote for a 75-minute wait.

    1. k
      kobetobiko Feb 6, 2009 02:49 PM

      I would imagine for tonight, at least 1 hour or an hour and a half.

      1. s
        silencespeak Feb 6, 2009 02:57 PM

        If you guys are looking to spend money on drinks, you can chill at the bar once you put your name down. the bar gets real busy.

        1. f
          foodwhisperer Feb 6, 2009 03:44 PM

          you will have a 2hour wait for sure

          8 Replies
          1. re: foodwhisperer
            lanadai Feb 7, 2009 07:05 AM

            um yeah walked by and didn't bother to ask, it looked insane. guess I'll have to go during lunch on a weekday again.

            1. re: lanadai
              foodwhisperer Feb 7, 2009 04:47 PM

              Lunch during the week is no wait. Dinner it seems is always over 40 minutes during the week and an hour and half or more on weekends. Lunch on weekend has a wait too. When its too crowded i change modes and go to soba ya because its in same neighborhood

              1. re: foodwhisperer
                lanadai Feb 8, 2009 01:10 PM

                Ha, I tried to go to Soba Ya after walking by Ippudo and it was an hour wait. Ended up going to Momofuku Noodle bar but still had to wait an hour b/c there was a table of 5 who just wouldn't leave, took them 20 minutes to pay the bill and the waitress did try to get them out. I had my bf and his friend go to get some takoyaki to stave off my hunger while we waited. Is there anything around that area on a Friday or weekend where you don't have to wait?

                1. re: lanadai
                  Boss77 Feb 21, 2009 09:06 AM

                  There is this little japanese place just around the corner to stave off starvation - they serve the deep fried octupus balls, which weren't bad

                  1. re: Boss77
                    lanadai Feb 21, 2009 02:32 PM

                    Yep that's what I did while I was waiting for a table at momo noodle bar

                    1. re: lanadai
                      fdb Apr 19, 2009 07:04 PM

                      Anybody know the name of the takoyaki place?

                      1. re: fdb
                        baobao Apr 20, 2009 04:54 AM

                        That's probably Otafuku, on E. 9th St. (near 2nd Ave). They also have yakisoba there as well.

                        236 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                        1. re: baobao
                          lanadai Apr 20, 2009 10:24 AM

                          yep, and they have okonomiyaki too and shaved ice in the summer.

          2. r
            Renguin Feb 7, 2009 02:33 PM

            I went there about a month ago and it was a major annoyance. The only reason I stayed is because by the time i thought of somewhere new to go and actually went there, I might as well just wait. I don't think its worth the wait in the winter when its this cold b/c the bar area gets really really crowded since its too cold to wait outside. While I like Ippudo, I don't think it's worth an hour wait. Does anyone else think their noodels are a bit too al dente, by the way?

            6 Replies
            1. re: Renguin
              boccalupo Feb 8, 2009 01:08 PM

              I stopped by Ippudo Thursday before last around 8:30pm and was told there would be a one hour wait. As the bar area was totally full, ordering a snack and a beer at the bar was not really a comfortable option either. Headed to Ramen Setagaya on 1st Ave. and my dining partner and I were seated immediately at the bar. I thought it was quite good, but the broth not as rich and flavorful as Ippudo. However Setagaya is less expensive and still pretty good if you are in the mood for ramen. You may be right about the noodles at Ippudo. But I think that it is broth that is the real the star there.

              1. re: boccalupo
                foodwhisperer Feb 8, 2009 02:38 PM

                Soba Koh is another choice on 5th st. great sliced duck dish and good soba. Its a small place but i have never waited there. Theres Minca on 5th st. and kambi on e.14tth st. Setagaya is on 1st ave. and now on st. marks also, its reasonable , not as good as ippudo.

                1. re: foodwhisperer
                  lanadai Feb 8, 2009 02:49 PM

                  Yeah Soba Koh is good but it's smaller and I didn't want to take the chance of walking down and not getting a table. Just don't want to walk around too much b/c it's cold and I'm lazy. Setagaya isn't crazy busy anymore?

                  1. re: lanadai
                    Pan Feb 8, 2009 07:15 PM


                    I don't believe I've ever had to wait for a table at Soba Koh, but then again, I've always gone either by myself or with one other person.

                    1. re: lanadai
                      kathryn Feb 9, 2009 02:47 PM

                      Setagaya is not crazy busy any more and now that there are two locations, it looks like there might not even be a wait at all sometimes!

                      1. re: kathryn
                        Lau Feb 10, 2009 08:09 AM

                        Kathryn and Lanadai are both right - ive never had to wait at soba koh (don't know why b/c its way better than soba ya) and setagaya is not that busy anymore

              2. h
                hungrycomposer Feb 8, 2009 02:40 PM

                I only go to Ippudo late, and I have never waited.

                11 Replies
                1. re: hungrycomposer
                  D...DF Feb 8, 2009 07:10 PM

                  What time range for no wait? Is that true on the weekends as well?

                  1. re: D...DF
                    hungrycomposer Feb 8, 2009 10:55 PM

                    I always go shortly before closing, and there has been plenty of space for a deuce at their big communal table. I've never gone with a large group, or on the weekend.

                    1. re: hungrycomposer
                      D...DF Feb 9, 2009 07:17 AM

                      Cool, I'll give that a shot. Thanks.

                      1. re: D...DF
                        pulled pork Mar 1, 2009 03:57 PM

                        Good for lunch?

                        1. re: pulled pork
                          mch Mar 2, 2009 10:23 AM

                          i've only been for dinner but i'm sure lunch is a better time to go. i actually ate at ippudo last night. 45 minute wait for 4 people.

                          1. re: mch
                            Scotty100 Mar 2, 2009 11:51 AM

                            The wait at Ippudo is extremely annoying. Everytime I have had to wait 45 mins plus then get shown through to the back where there are numerous tables lying empty. Has anyone else noticed this? I don't think they are as busy as they make out...they just have this annoying front-of-the-house policy whereby you will never get seated straight away for some reason. Last time it happened I was pretty annoyed...the place was half-empty in the back yet jammed at the front with people waiting for no apparent reason, And that was a saturday lunch time around 2pm.

                            1. re: Scotty100
                              quizkiddonniesmith Mar 2, 2009 12:31 PM

                              I think you may be on to something. The last time I was there I was ny myself, and wanted to sit at the empty bar, but still had a to wait for around twenty minutes.

                              1. re: quizkiddonniesmith
                                Scotty100 Mar 2, 2009 01:42 PM

                                Yes - I am totally convinced Ippudo is not as busy as they would like you to think it is. Next time you are asked to wait 45-60 mins at the front take a wander down into the dining room and see for yourself the number of empty booths/tables/seats at the communal table...it's infuriating...!

                                1. re: Scotty100
                                  foodwhisperer Mar 2, 2009 02:46 PM

                                  Scotty, youre right,,, always empty spots. I have found that when i used to walk out when they said 45 minutes ,ive been putting my name on the llist and its more like 20 minutes. But they do always have empty seats

                                  1. re: foodwhisperer
                                    judibean Apr 14, 2009 09:59 AM

                                    That's disconcerting considering I want to try this place! Why would they shoot themselves in the foot by not seating and feeding folks right away? Maybe they're perpetually understaffed?

                                    1. re: judibean
                                      Miss Needle Apr 14, 2009 10:06 AM

                                      I don't think it's a matter of being understaffed. I was talking to somebody I work with who is Japanese and told me she experienced the same thing. They told her the wait was going to be long. She looked in and saw a bunch of empty seats and said something to them in Japanese. They sat her right away. She thinks Ippudo is trying to create a buzz by having them seem more busy than they actually are.

                2. citysweettooth Apr 14, 2009 07:54 AM

                  I went for the first time last night. I made a reservation (you can only do them in person the same day, and it just means they'll give you the next available table, not an actual reserved table). Even so, we ended waiting about 25 min., I guess not too bad since they were telling walk-ins it would be 1+1/2 hours. This is on a Monday night at 8pm. So, yeah, still busy!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: citysweettooth
                    CMG920 Apr 14, 2009 10:10 AM

                    Definitely check out Rai Rai Ken in East Village.

                  2. bigjeff Apr 15, 2009 08:09 AM

                    that door policy kinda pisses me off. really dumb.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: bigjeff
                      sam1 Apr 15, 2009 08:57 AM

                      eh, i live 3 blocks away and walk over whenever i want a reservation...ive rarely had to wait longer than 5 minutes.

                      ippudo rules.

                      1. re: sam1
                        bigjeff Apr 15, 2009 09:46 AM

                        planning to go tomorrow night for the first time but reading all this about "make us look busy" door policies just sounds terrible. for 2, around 10pm? hope they don't make us go through hoops.

                        1. re: bigjeff
                          Miss Needle Apr 15, 2009 09:52 AM

                          Hopefully 10P is late enough where the guys will just want to serve you and leave. I was there for lunch. Only waited for about 5-10 minutes. But when I got seated, there were a lot of empty seats. In any other restaurant, you would have been sat right away. I originally thought they did because they were understaffed. But reading other reports and from what that Japanese girl said to me, I'm pretty sure the staffing isn't a problem.

                          1. re: Miss Needle
                            Silverjay Apr 15, 2009 01:29 PM

                            They're probably trying to give you an opportunity to shell out the $9 they charge for a 2oz. pour of Iichiko at the little bar there in the front. A buck for the shochu and $8 for the fancy decor. And now I hear they're putting peanut butter in their miso broth. Ippudo might be 3 blocks away for some, but sounds like it's drifting a million miles from Fukuoka...

                          2. re: bigjeff
                            bigjeff Apr 17, 2009 09:13 AM

                            went last night and had an excellent meal! arrived around 10:15pm and the waiting area was full of pairs; we waited about 35 minutes before our party of two (they said 45-50 minutes) was seated; we were seated in the lovely paired lovechairs surrounding a wooden table with a pit full of charcoal (much cooler than it sounds). was happy to see that the place was indeed fully packed and every seat taken, instead of playing games with empty seats, etc. (which I read accounts of online beforehand). we had:

                            + akamaru with add-on of memna
                            + kasane-aji (ippudo 1-year anniversary special)

                            the place was packed, great energy, great space, great service (aside from the wait) and our seating was awesome. the akamaru was great, a large dollop of red spicy stuff and a generous spill of sesame oil; very deep flavor, rich, multi-faceted, the fixins' were varied but minimal, which i found to be perfect; it's all about the broth. the special was a pork bone and chicken broth so decidedly lighter and served with a yuzu-pepper dab which was quite strong, but delicious when added to the broth; wasn't expecting that sort of flavor in ramen but, really nice. added generous grinds from the tableside sesame dispenser. the two were a great contrast; both very rich in flavor, tastes, even texture. noodles were great; I was tempted to get the noodle add-on but the broths were so substantial that it would have been overkill.

                            we didn't order anything else and I can't imagine having starters when the soups are so substantial; we left with slightly sloshy insides but thankfully the serving of strong brown tea at the end helped alleviate some of the general fullness.

                            this place kicked setagaya's ass, menkui-tei's ass, rai rai ken's ass and pretty much any other ramen I've had (not that I've had a lot). will make return trips to sample the other choices; the alternate was to have gone to rockmeisha as well (will save for another trip).

                            as an aside, walked to momofuku milk bar and had their soft serve; so delicious, so incredibly rich and dense; can't imagine eating a whole serving; the old fashioned was very very very good, and the jelly doughnut was even better. we took both flavors home to put in the freezer; excellent value at $4 each.

                            1. re: bigjeff
                              Polecat Apr 17, 2009 12:28 PM

                              I can't agree that this place kicks Setagaya's ass, but then I haven't been to RS since their flagship opened. Have heard subsequent reports regarding a downhill slide, but, when they opened, they served what, for me, was the most balanced bowl of ramen I've tasted in NYC.

                              I agree about the Akamaru broth at Ippudo. Nice, deep, porky flavor. It made it for me. But I also liked the extra noodles option, which reminded me of some joints I've hit in Japan. I went for it, in all its' glory. For me, the weak link was the charshu. Not bad, but nothing exciting either. The gestalt, though, made for a very good bowl.

                              I was expecting to hate Ippudo, to be honest, but wound up liking the food and digging the feng shui of the space. The place manages to affect a certain reflective and romantic quietude despite having a considerable din of noise.


                              1. re: Polecat
                                bigjeff Apr 17, 2009 04:05 PM

                                that's a great term, the gestalt of the food; toppings minimal, nice condiments, and with that broth as the anchor, each slurp and enormous spoonful was absolute pleasure. previously, I'd be all about the variety and quantity of the toppings and the "solids" in the bowl but I've a newfound (and possibly permanent) appreciation for the "liquid."

                                ya, ate at the setagaya on st marks and severely disappointed. damn!

                                1. re: bigjeff
                                  Scotty100 Apr 19, 2009 05:44 PM

                                  +1 on ippudo's ramen. Very very good. Here;s hoping next time I go I don't get the "no seats available wait 90 mins" nonsense.

                                  1. re: bigjeff
                                    foodwhisperer Apr 19, 2009 10:51 PM

                                    the pork belly side topping for $3 is the amazing,,i get it on the side not in the soup ,,Ive even gotten it without getting soup ,,what a deal $3 and its amazingly good. Someone asked about a takoyaki place, the two I know are on St Marks not 9th st. theres Go Sushi , they serve the fried food out of a little kiosk type thing near the outdoor seating. Also , I believe Taisho is the other place that has tako yaki and many kinds of yakatori.
                                    Regarding the wait at Ippudo,,, lunch is not a big wait at all,,, Dinner, just put your name on the list and come back , then it wont seem like a wait,,Ive found when they say 40 minutes it really mean 25 minutes.
                                    Sometimes I wonder how the wait thing works, I wonder if you can bribe the people.. Yikes , that sounds terrible ,,but places like Joe's Stone crab, and peter luger's known for very long waits on a saturday nite ,,,it works just fine

                                    1. re: foodwhisperer
                                      Scotty100 Apr 20, 2009 10:43 AM

                                      Yeah but there's a difference when waiting when the place is packed full and then waiting for no apparent reason when it's half empty...

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