Ippudo is a Japanese ramen chain, and their NYC locations have pretty insane wait times. The Santa Monica one is significantly calmer, and they serve good, casual Japanese comfort food, with absolutely top-notch service. It’s known as a ramen spot, but our favorite dishes are the small plates. The karaage and shishitos are both solid, and the best are the buns - the vegetarian ones come with a deep-fried eggplant patty, and the pork belly is tender but not too fatty. Add in a bottle of sake - served in a fancy wooden box filled with ice - and this makes for a great date spot.
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