Since I moved to Maryland a couple months ago, I haven’t really had a lot of chances to explore many local places. After a couple fails from the high ratings and recommended restaurants from some of the popular restaurant review websites. (Guess most people would know who I’m referring to right away :P) This place is the first I would like to recommend to people.
Within walking distance from metro station, this Japanese Ramen noodles shop is located on a very busy street with tons of restaurant choices. Yet hardly noticed its entrance is in the basement (shown as picture below.)
Even though the store is a “compact-sized” with only about 20-30 seats, you won’t really feel crowded as you can hear people sitting next to you sipping their soup or overheard their conversation. Instead, you can still keep a pretty descent distance between parties.
The menu is really simple and focused. Only two sides of an A4 size page with a couple Buns selections for appetizers and drinks, on the other side is the Ramen noodles choices and that’s all, super easy to decide.
Ramen choices are also pretty clear explained what is the broth based and what are the ingredients in the bowl. You can also always add more sides to the bowl if you want. But this time I want to go with the original set to see how it goes.
The one I ordered is called “TONKOTSU Red.” Based with pork broth with pork belly chashu (Japanese style marinated and grilled pork,) Wood Ear mushrooms, and menma (fermented and marinated bamboo shoots.)
How to taste Japanese Ramen: First try one sip of the broth straight from the spoon to warm up your mouth, then stir all the toppings with the noodles and eat the noodles, toppings, and soup all together as soon as possible before it gets cold.
A lot of people might have the impression of Ramen always comes with very salty broth. However, from what I have experienced when I traveled around Japan and east Asia, it is not always the case and taste should be something belongs to your own preferences. My personal preferences for Ramen broth are rich and aromatic but not salty and not too thick.
SAKURAMEN meets my preference for the soup!! It’s not too salty but yet it has a various tastes of richness. They are not shy on the toppings as well. I like the Chashu (pork belly) very much as it is not too fatty, well marinated with a little sweet taste but not too sweet, and among all it’s very tender. I can pretty much split the meat with my chopsticks.
The portion of the meal can fill most of people (may be even a little too much for some small appetite girls.) But for guys, you can always order extra noodles to your bowl and extra toppings if you want with just a little extra charges.
Be ready to wait in lines when you hit the place during rush hours or not arriving there right around their opening hours. The store packed up really fast just right after we are seated when they opened at 11:30 on the weekends.
這間日式拉麵位於DC 市中心北邊大約20分鐘左右的18街上，坐地鐵黃/綠線可以到Columbia Heights站，之後走路大約8-10分鐘。
Address: 2441 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 656-5285
Price: USD$12-18/ person
Direction: Near Columbia Heights Metro Station (Green/ Yellow line)