Trips to your grandparents' house rarely spur lucrative business plans, as evidenced by the fact that none of those venture capitalists agreed to invest in your "good grades, birthdays, and quarters behind ears" start up. For a restaurant prompted by visits to Granny's: Toki Underground.
From a chef inspired by Taipei's hottest soups whilst visiting his grandma, Toki's DC's first true ramen spot, serving up steaming bowls of noodle-filled meat-broth from a faux grungy H Street hideout full of old album posters and graffiti, skate deck foot rails, a lantern-strewn steel tree, and a bar decorated with old Pachinko machines, which are like Pacino machines, in that they're tough to understand, but you just know they've got balls. Most of the ramen's done up Tonkotsu-style with a 24hr simmered pork bone broth, including the pork loin chashu/ seasonal vegetables/ sesame/ nori "Toki Hakata Classic", the similarly loined "Kimchi Hakata", and the five spice fried chicken/ boiled egg/ scallions "Curry Chicken Hakata", all of which can be bolstered with add-ons like extra pork cheek, and homemade Sriracha "endorphin" sauce -- fitting, as it's spicy enough to keep you running. For further liquid fun, they've got inventive 'tails like the bourbon/ pepper honey liquor/ Scotch-misted "Toki Monster" with an actual skewer of kushiyaki pork belly, the vodka-based "Oolong Hai" with brewed tea and shiso simple syrup, and an Armagnac V.S.O.P./ Domaine de Canton/ lemongrass syrup concoction dubbed the "Super Duper Car", which's also the slogan Toyota's Tokyo advertising division labored over for months.
Toki's also got pork, beef, chicken, or seafood dumplings (filled with fresh cut ginger/ garlic and topped with thick soy-like tare sauce) should you want something less liquid, a characteristic of your Christmas/Easter card proposal that those idiot VCs didn't even let you get to.
Published: March 31, 2011 at 4:00am EDT
1234 H Street, NE
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