After passing this restaurant countless times, my friend Meg and I stepped in and tried DC’s trendiest ramen house: Daikaya. And thank goodness I finally did. This place is the bomb. Literally, the first thing our waiter asked us was, “Want a sake bomb?” Sake and saporro? My kind of joint.
In February 2013, Daikaya Izakaya opened up right across from the Verizon Center on 6th Street NW. This restaurant incorporates two culinary experiences in the same building. The ramen house, Daikaya, which translates to mean “House of Big Pot”, sits downstairs. Izakaya, a Japanese tavern, is located upstairs and boasts a more extensive menu of Japanese fare. I have yet to try the Izakaya but after our phenomenal experience at Daikaya, I will definitely be back!
Probably the only similarity between Daikaya’s ramen and the classic college staple is that they are both a type of soup. Daikaya’s broth incorporates fresh pork, beef and chicken bones, as well as garlic and onions. The vegetable broths garners its flavor from seaweed and pureed vegetables.
Meg and I sat in the most exciting part of the restaurant, posted atop stools at the narrow wooden ledge that loops around the open kitchen. We could easily interact with our cooks, listening to them yell, “Men hairimasu!” to let their coworkers know that the “noodles are entering” the steaming pots.
I ordered Spicy Miso Ramen, a dish with balanced yet complex flavors with such depth that it is not merely spicy as the menu explains. The ramen is topped with freshly stir-fried scallions, bean sprouts, crumbled chashu (Japanese simmered pork with ginger), and garlic and finished with a sheet of nori, or dried seaweed.
You can also order extra ramen toppings including pork belly, egg, bamboo, corn, and even butter. Our waiter encouraged us to add nitamago, a soft boiled egg marinated in soy sauce and ramen broth, as well as the pork belly. Despite its funny brown color from the soy sauce, the egg tasted divine! I mixed the semi-runny yolk into my ramen. However, next time I would skip the pork belly which was dried out and lacked any flavor.
As Meg and I feasted on our steaming bowls of ramen, the restaurant manager amped up the energy of the room by playing array of 90s tunes. Not one guest could resist singing along when “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys started blasting from the speakers.
To all my DC friends, this is a spot to check out! And in this crazy cold weather, a steaming bowl of ramen is sure to warm your soul!