I've been reading about excellent ramen for a long time, but until recently I didn't have any experience with the real deal. Josh and I attempted to eat at the locally famous Toki Underground on H Street NE not too long ago, but our pesky children prevented us from getting in line at 5 pm, and by the time we showed up at 7:30 there was a five hour wait. But I was delighted to learn that a new ramen place had opened not far from my office. Daikaya serves ramen on the first floor and offers an izakaya menu on the second floor.
My intrepid colleague Alex accompanied me on this ramen adventure. Daikaya recently got a good review in The Washington Post , so there was already a short wait to be seated at noon. But after only 5 minutes, we got a seat at the bar overlooking the kitchen, which offered a fascinating crash course in ramen prep.
The huge pot in the foreground was full of broth, noodles are cooked to order in baskets in the cooking area behind the stockpot, and the flash of fire in the distance is for the preparation of the bean sprouts that garnish each bowl. I loved being able to watch these guys at work, and the finished product was pretty spectacular.
I opted for the Shoyu ramen, which includes soy sauce in the broth. The noodles were particularly remarkable: they were perfectly cooked and had a delightful springy texture. I also really enjoyed the nitamago (soy sauce and broth marinated soft-boiled egg)--I'll definitely order an extra when I go back. At $11.75, this filling bowl of noodly deliciousness did not cost much more than the mediocre lunch options that abound in downtown DC. Alex tells me that Toki's broth is superior, but I have no basis for comparison and would happily become a regular at Daikaya.