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This new contender for the East Village ramen crown is the first NYC branch of a well-loved Japanese chain. While Setagaya, a fellow import, is known for its salt-based broth, Ippudo traffics in tonkotsu, a long-simmered pork stock. The basic shiromaru ramen has a serious, substantial broth. It's the color of milky tea, and deeply porky. The ramen is ultra thin, like angel hair, and delicately wheaty. When the bowl arrives, the noodles have a nice chewy bite, but they get softer as they sit in the broth, so it's best to slurp them up speedily. Toppings are basic: black mushrooms, stewed pork belly, cabbage, scallions. It's all about the broth and the noodles, and there are only three varieties to choose from. Spice-lovers should go for option number three, the bowl with spicy meat sauce that you stir into the broth, rendering it brick red and incredibly tasty. But don't get the pickles;a bowl full of seasoned rice vinegar with a few measly sticks of bell pepper, carrot and radish bobbing within.