Mr. Plantain is a ramen fiend. He loves ramen the way that I love ma po tofu and fried chicken. I can tell you, that's a lot of love. He happily slurped his way through many bowls in Japan, which included a train ride just to visit the Yokohama ramen museum (a food court made up of some of the best ramen shops in the country). And, every time we visit NYC, we always make time to hit Ippudo and Totto Ramen. So, it's very exciting that the ramen trend has finally trickled down to DC.
The order: pan-fried pork dumplings, Taiwanese-style cold tofu, hakata classic ramen, and kimchi hakata ramen. The pork dumplings were nice and juicy on the inside and cooked well; I liked them, overall, but thought they could have been a bit more flavorful. The cold tofu came as two thin slices of tofu covered with sauce, green onions, and a mound of bonito flakes. We both agreed that this was our favorite dish, with an interesting and balanced combination of flavors, though the portion was very small.
Most importantly, the ramen. The noodles had some bite to them, which was good. The chashu was tasty and melting, but sliced so thinly that the melting meat blended a bit too much into the broth. The greens were very flavorful and different. There was a sprinkling of pickled ginger and there were definitely bites where the ginger flavor strongly overpowered everything else. Our biggest quibble was with the broth. The broth had a pleasant flavor, but tasted watered-down and soupy. We found ourselves wanting a concentrated flavor and a broth with more body, complexity, and porkiness. Overall, it's a decent tasting bowl of noodles, but does not satisfy a ramen craving.
Too bad, because despite a wait of over an hour, we really enjoyed the vibe and look of Toki Underground. We know that Toki is still tinkering with things a bit since it opened recently. We hope that they work with the broth a bit; DC needs great ramen.
2nd Floor (above The Pug)
1234 H Street NE, Washington D.C. 20002