Thanks to my Facebook update saying I was in Tokyo, I got a hot ramen tip from my friend, George, who I met at Foo Camp a few years ago. So, after work today, I headed out with my old buddy Shinji (we worked together on Works and Picture It! a long time ago) to Ippudo. As it turns out, Ippudo is Shinji's favorite ramen place too. After a bit of navigational confusion, we managed to find the branch in Ginza and headed downstairs into the cellar restaurant.
(The Ginza Ippudo from across the street. The entrance is actually behind the truck. The sign says "Your happiness of eating this ramen makes us happy." They must have been very happy after I ate my ramen.)
Ippudo serves Hakata-style tonkatsu (pork) based broth, like my beloved Jangara Ramen. Unlike Jangara's super rich and luscious soup, Ippudo serves a lighter but equally delicious bowl of ramen. I followed Shinji's recommendation to try the akamaru (red sea) style instead of the more traditional shiromaru (white sea) style. The akamaru is Ippudo's innovation, adding spicy miso and garlic oil to the shiromaru. It was simply great. You can even pick how well cooked you like your noodles (I picked one level harder than normal; not sure why. Normal would probably have been a little better, but it was cool to see how much control and attention to detail they have.)
(Here's my bowl of akamaru before I started eating. The cool copper tumbler is my beer. The pots behind the ramen are different kinds of pickles. The low dish at 12:00 is peeled garlic which you mince with the garlic press at 2:00.)
The gyoza (dumplings like Chinese potstickers) were also amazing, perhaps the best I've ever tasted -- savory filling in a light skin. Ippudo also provides pots of free pickles including these great spicy bean sprouts. Yum, yum, yum, with a side of yum.
(Here's my before I tuck into my bowl of ramen. The after-action photos are NSFW. The scenes of culinary carnage and self-satisfied food ecstasy are probably best left to the imagination.)
As usual, Rameniac has a much better write-up (from which I liberally drew for this post).