Monday, April 20, 2015

Sakuramen in Adams Morgan, DC

Confession: I've been on a major Charmed binge lately.

So of course right now I'm on a total "power of three" kick and if there is any power of three manipulating the ramen game in DC, they would be Daikaya, Toki Underground, and Sakuramen (hereafter referred to as "the ramen 3").

While the Charmed Ones are well protected by the Book of Shadows and all the magic of the Halliwell line, the ramen 3 have impossibly long wait times, elbow-to-elbow seating, and the hoards of raving Yelp reviews. Clearly they are doing something right.

Kimchi // 2

Sakuramen's menu offers appetizers such as buns and potstickers as well as pickled side dishes, but what you're really here for is the ramen (and all the toppings of course!) Whether you're in the mood for shoyu, miso, a meat-lover's dream, or vegan Sakuramen has it covered.

Sakuramen // vegetarian kombu broth + menma + corn + green onions + mushrooms // 11
Shoki bowl // chashu + bulgogi + seasoned egg + green onion + sprouts + nori + ninniku dare // 15
Some bowls offer the thick and wavy noodles while others offer thin and straight. Personally I thought that the thick noodles stood up better to my ramen's spicy flavors, but if you want something a bit more mild, thin is the way to go.

Spicy miso // menma + scallions + corn + nori + fireball // 12
Spice levels are totally customizable and I take my spice verrrryyyy seriously. When I told my server that I wanted level 10, he look at me with an "are you sure? this is your time to rethink that decision" warning, making my friends scale down their spice levels. Nonetheless I stuck to my guns got the 10.

Spicy? Yes. For sure. But I loved every single bite of it. Then again, I'm a little insane. The spice is a clean, straight burn rather than the oilier or mala-style spicy flavor I'm used to and I'm glad because the lightness of the soup was still able to shine through!

Compared to Daikaya, Sakuramen's broth is much lighter, less salty, and less oily - undoubtedly the cleanest bowl I've had in a long time. I think next time I'll try a non-spicy version to taste all the complexity of the broth. 

To be honest, I wasn't completely, completely, completely blown away by Sakuramen's food, not enough to wait 45 minutes to an hour for a table at least, but I have to give a quick shoutout to our server Tony. He was attentive, energetic, and made the experience beyond enjoyable. I'm definitely returning again just for the service alone. 

Sakuramen on Urbanspoon
2441 18th Street NW
 Washington, DC 20009