I've done a miserable job of following my New Year's Eve resolution: try new restaurants. After falling back into my standard rotation of Rasika, Bibiana and BLT, I decided it was time to venture into new territory.
There was a lot of excitement about the opening of Toki Underground, a ramen house on H St, NE. DC ramen fans have been waiting in vain for two years for the Penn Quarter Wagamama to open. The development of Toki Underground was hugely anticipated and in the first weeks of it's existence, it was flooded with customers. I doubt this will change anytime in the near future.
It's a small place with only 20 seats. Clients of mine went on a Sunday the first or second week it was open at 5:45pm and waited two hours for seats. Wanting to avoid the lines, my husband and I went early. We were the second and third customers of the evening. I guess the masses don't eat at 5pm. The restaurant was virtually deserted which gave us our choice of seats. I chose to sit in front of the windows which gave us a birds eye view of rush hour traffic. It also framed us perfectly for the Washingtonian photographer that was there for his own story.
I thought the place was adorable with lots of fun design details. Skateboard decks for foot rests, a "tree" with lanterns and cute animal bento boxes for dessert.
The ramen was pretty amazing too. I ordered the Toki Hakata Classic. The broth was rich, had a lot depth and flavor. The noodles were yummy and firm. I also enjoyed the seasonal veggies and the pork loin. My only complaint was the high level of salt. My husband (my tough, in-house ramen critic) ordered the Kimichi Hakata. He wasn't as impressed. He agreed with my assessment of the broth. He had a few additional critiques: he thought the pork should be a fattier cut and the noodles should be firmer. He grew up eating ramen and I didn't. His critiques are fairly standard from the Yelp reviews I read after we visited.
We had fantastic, attentive service which I always appreciate. Overall, I enjoyed our experience and it's one I'd repeat.