If you are a lover of food like I am, then you will know that recently all the food hype has been about ramen. Ramen is a Japanese noodle and broth bowl that consists of anything from pork, chicken, soft-boiled eggs, seaweed, spinach, etc. Basically it’s a bowl of deliciousness.
Since I’ve only ever had the American college-style ramen, I was interested in trying the real thing. But let’s face it, Southern Maryland is full of nothing but chain restaurants so I’d specifically have to travel into the city to get authentic ramen.
My new beau, Anthony, suggested we go to Toki Underground since they have some of the best reviews for ramen in the Washington DC area.
Located in Northeast, Toki Underground seems at first to be a “hole-in-the-wall” joint. When you enter the building you have to walk up a narrow set of stairs where you will meet the hostess, typically there is a wait so she takes your number and texts you when your seats are ready. This is exactly how our experience went. Luckily the street that it is located on has a variety of bars to choose from to pass the time. We ended up at Granville Moore’s for a half hour before we received the text that our seats were ready.
Once you get into the restaurant it is very small with a bar that sits 4 people located in front of the cooks, and seats at a bar that is wrapped around the wall. Our seats were perfect. They were in front of the main window that overlooks H Street so we could people watch while we ate. And of course it made for great photo lighting 😉
When we first sat down our server gave us two glasses and a vase of water. Maybe it was because we were in the city, but the water did not taste very filtered, so naturally I asked for sparkling instead of still. Anthony ordered hot saki, a rice wine that is served hot. I wasn’t a fan.
The atmosphere of the restaurant has an urban, New York City-style feel/aesthetic. With stickers on the wall and skateboards that trail the floor underneath the seats. The music playing was the newest rap, it was loud and unedited, which gave it that New York vibe.
As far as pricing goes, it is about $15 for a bowl of ramen at Toki. I thought that was reasonable considering the area. When it was time to order we decided to get the popular fried chicken with steamed buns as an appetizer. Surprisingly this was priced the same as the ramen, $15. Personally I wasn’t impressed by the steamed buns. They were tasty for sure, but not worth $15.
Shown above is the curry chicken ramen that I ordered. It was probably all I expected and then some more. It was delicious! The only thing I did not necessarily care for was the chicken that was in it. The chicken was cooked the same way as the chicken that came with our steamed buns and I would have liked to seen it cooked in a different style, maybe shredded. Other than the chicken, everything else in the bowl was amazing.
Overall I would give it an 8/10. If you are ever in the area or if you just want to try good ramen, I would definitely recommend this place!