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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sakuramen

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Adams-Morgan

The Setup


With happy hour quickly dwindling down, the group of us declared a definite need for dinner. Like a bullet, I shouted out the one place we had been bandying about for weeks: Sakuramen. So off we went, myself, Official Co-Writer/Girlfriend of DCWD Texas, and Official Friends of DCWD Chill, Sam, Shawn, and Gerard.

The Vibe

Sakuramen sits in an unassuming spot, in an English basement amid the many myriad bars on 18th St. One would be forgiven for missing entirely with it sitting so low eyeline-wise. Its' inside is much like you would expect for a ramen shop: Japanese embellishments like tiny square paper window walls or Edo-period style red-and-black paintings of samurai that match the restaurant's decor.

Seating is also unassuming: a few two-tops line one wall, combined at times. Otherwise, seating consists of a 30 seat square bar that wraps itself around two columns. Again, fairly normal for a ramen place, but you could very well be seated at seats opposite one another at the bar, with a thin stone-filled divider between you and potentially next to another couple (the one seated next to us on this night was in the midst of a fight).

The Food


The menu is simple: six choices for ramen, and a few choices for a starter. In this case, Texas decided to split vegetarian shroom buns, with marinated portabellas subbing in for bulgogi or chashu. I think the key for me was to leave my meat hangup at the door; the portabella was never going to be the same for me as bulgogi, so concentrate on the other parts. The bun was wonderfully fluffy, the toppings were solid, and the mushroom for its part, was actually marinated very well. Solid.

Texas ordered the namesake Sakuramen: a vegetarian broth filled with corn, green onion, mushrooms, nori, and menma (bamboo shoots). For her part, she thought the ramen was also very solid. Preferring to eat them crunchy if at all, she also appreciated the offering of a vegetarian dish (heck, the namesake after all). Upon my taste, I was impressed with its thoughtfulness as well.

I ordered the Gojiramen, shoyu ramen with chashu (roasted pork belly), menma, scallions, nori and bean sprouts. I liked Texas's fine, but the roasted pork belly was just absolutely divine, smoky with a hint of burnt and with enough fat to make it super flavorful. The whole bowl was warming and delicious.

The Verdict


If this is the future of Adams-Morgan post-bar food, count me in.

Food Rating: ****
(out of 5) 
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
N/A
Vibe:
Chatty
Cost:
$$
(out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)
Pairing
: I mean it's Adams-Morgan. Pop over to any number of non-douchey bars (The Reef? Toledo? Madam's Organ? Something else?) for a nightcap.

Sakuramen on Urbanspoon

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