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Ippudo = MSG

johannabanana Nov 7, 2009 09:12 AM

If you look around online you'll find a lot of people identifying the flaw in Ippudo: MSG. We went there yesterday evening and were thirsty for the rest of the night. My girlfriend woke up this morning with a (suspected) MSG headache. Sure the broth tastes good -- but that goodness seems MSG-derived.

I understand that MSG is an integral part of popular Japanese cuisine, but I'm really not a fan of it. Incidentally, the Japanese theme-park behavior of the obnoxious servers, constantly chanting in a way that helps you appreciate the relative authenticity of Yakitori Totto, is another reason Ippudo is overrated.

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Yakitori Totto
251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

Ippudo
65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

  1. Silverjay Nov 7, 2009 10:24 AM

    Ippudo is completely authentic. The raucous greeting by staff is de rigueur for Japanese style casual dining. And MSG appears naturally in konbu seaweed which is used to make the soup. It's used to make nearly all Japanese soups. Whether or not you find it acceptable or not sounds like something you will have to come to terms with in the same way people with peanut allergies or people who hate cake cooking challenge shows deal with life. Waking up the next day with a "suspected MSG headache" and running to the internet to post about it as a reason the shop is overrated? Wow, that's priceless.

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    Ippudo
    65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

    3 Replies
    1. re: Silverjay
      s
      Sugar Nov 7, 2009 10:50 AM

      MSG-issues aside, the raucous greeting and back-and-forth between kitchen staff and waitstaff is incredibly authentic. I've been to Tokyo twice and almost all casual places have a similar vibe and eating at Ippudo brings back great memories.

      Different strokes, but calling out something as inauthentic when it actually strikes a near pitch-perfect note points to your flaws as a "reviewer."

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      Ippudo
      65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

      1. re: Silverjay
        johannabanana Nov 7, 2009 10:51 AM

        Sure a raucous greeting is authentic but the chanting at Ippudo doesn't stop there. The staff spend the whole time shouting stuff between (and to?) themselves. I particularly suspect that some of the non-Japanese servers are just chiming in. (In contrast, at Totto you are also greeted but that's it. I have had similarly toned-down experiences dining casually in Japan.) This isn't the reason I disliked the rushed and cold service.

        As for the MSG, maybe its use at Ippudo is particularly liberal but I think the after-effects are an entirely valid reason for complaining. And in terms of necessity, MSG is not the same as peanuts in, say, Thai cuisine.

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        Ippudo
        65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

        1. re: johannabanana
          E Eto Nov 7, 2009 12:06 PM

          Also, blaming MSG for the headaches might also be a bit premature. The medical establishment hasn't definitively linked headaches to MSG, so you might be pointing your finger at the wrong suspect. It's been discussed here a lot.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/467547
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/583714
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/616601
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/511289

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