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Where to Eat on H Street in DC? Toki Underground

Who loves ramen? I do!

The first time I went to Toki Underground, I fell in love with its small, eclectically decorated space, friendly staff, and bowls of steaming broth filled with noodles, vegetables, an egg and various other ingredients you may choose.

When my friend Cecilia suggested we go to Toki for a second visit last week, I said YES. Toki is located in the growing H Street neighborhood, which as bad as this might sound, is not my typical hangout. I can't wait for the H Street trolley (bus?) to start operating so I can visit that part of DC more often.

The night was windy and gray, and the rain was out of control. We thought we'd have no trouble snatching a few seats. We were wrong. Even at 6:30 on a random Wednesday night, the wait was about 45 minutes. Trust me: it's WORTH it.

We went back out into the rain to cross the street to Smith Commons for drinks.

I had a mojito and Cecilia had a watermelon drink. Both were great, but I could not help but look at my phone every few minutes in anticipation of receiving a text that our table at Toki was ready. And then it was!

We decided to share an order of steamed seafood dumplings adn an asparagus salad, and then order a bowl of ramen each.

We sat at the bar overlooking the pots bubbling with the delicious broth and got to see the masters at work. Each bowl went through a taste test before it was served to customers.

Please don't judge the food by my yellowish photos. The flavor of the asparagus salad with pickled ramps was fresh and acidic. The dumplings were light, and a steal for $5.

But the star of the night was definitely the ramen. For the second time in a row, I ordered Kimchi Hakata: Tonkotsu noodle soup with pork loin, chashu, seasonal vegetables, boiled egg, sesame, scallions, nori and locally made kimchi.

Cecilia ordered a Curry Chicken Hakata (not pictured). After trying the original flavor and the curry flavor, I think my choice was the best :) The spiciness of the kimchi cut through the fattiness of the broth, pork and  egg, freshening up the entire dish.

I'm not sure how, but I managed to save half of my bowl for lunch the next day. If Toki Underground were open for lunch, I'd be in trouble since I work in (sort of) walking distance of them ;)

Thanks for a great night!!


Margot said...

You might be a yuppie if you think that $5 is "a steal" for 5-6 teeny tiny dumplings :) I've had those dumplings, and they were good. But the price is just normal - expensive by reasonable standards and normal by trendy, urban standards. The dumplings are TINY. And $5 for an Asian appetizer that's cheap to make isn't a particularly good deal. I'm guessing those dumplings cost the restaurant about 25-50 cents to make.

Olga @ MangoTomato said...

We'll just have to agree to disagree. When a cup of coffee is over $2, six hand-made dumplings in a great restaurant with friendly service is a good deal in my book.

nicole said...

I agree w/ you Olga -- a plate of three mass-produced dumplings at dim sum costs $3. These look bigger and much better tasting. Everything at toki is a bit cheaper than main drag DC because it's so off the beaten path. I really hope they make transporting there easier, but then everything will probably get more expensive (ex: u st)

I love the cold tofu there and like the curry ramen better, though I have a soft spot for that type of curry since it reminds me of Japan. I've been meaning to go back but the timing hasn't worked out. I've been sick, they've been closed for events, etc.