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May 6, 2008 11:29 AM


...anyone know what's up with Wagamama coming to DC?
As in ETA and location?

and no, it's not on their web site.

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    1. re: KWynn

      ah ok, thanks.

      I know the space. Too bad it's still a ways away. :)

    2. We walked by the old Olsson's spot on 7th St. (near Sei and the Shakespeare Theater) and it looks like they are getting closer to being open.

      ETA: The Wagamama site says they won't be open until May 2010.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Doh

        I admit I am kind of crazed but I was curious, so I emailed Wagamama a while back. They confirmed they will not open until May 2010.

        1. re: dcish

          If lunch in Boston last week was indicative of the chain's quality in general, I wouldn't be awaiting this one with baited breath. A decent enough stop for a quick lunch, but nothing to get excited about, nor anything I'd choose over a good hole-in-the-wall ethnic joint.

          1. re: Dmnkly

            Know any good hole-in-the-wall ethnic joints downtown?

            1. re: hamster

              In DC? No :-)

              But if there were a Wagamama in Baltimore, I doubt I'd go... I have to believe the options are at least as good down there?

              1. re: Dmnkly

                Where, other than Grace Garden, would you go in Baltimore before Wagamama?

                Have not been to Mekong Delta yet, but I'm not sure of too many other asian type options that are edible.

                1. re: gregb

                  Wagamama and Grace Garden?

                  Not even close. The cuisines are completely different. GG is authentic Chinese and Wagamama is poorly interpreted Japanese ramen by Brits.

                  Had the chance to check out a Wagamama in Copenhagen this past summer and it was a complete let down. If you're looking for traditional Japanese ramen, Wagamama fails completely.

                  However, if all you know are Cup-O-Noodles and microwave freeze-dried ramen, then Wagamama will probably rock your world.

                  Personally speaking, I don't think I will ever go to Wagamama again in my lifetime.

                  1. re: onocoffee

                    I was thinking the fish noodles at GG.
                    I understand it's a poor comparison on more than one level.

                    Have been to a Wagamama once in London many years ago. At the time, I remember the gyoza being very good and everything else being decent. I was a young lad back then!

                    1. re: gregb

                      It IS decent!

                      I don't mean to make it sound like I think it's an affront to good food or anything like that. It's fine. It just didn't srike me as anything to get excited about, much less mark your calendar for.

                  2. re: gregb

                    Asian noodles / soup?

                    I'd go to Pho #1, Joung Kak or Noc Won all before Wagamama. And I'm not especially thrilled by any of those three, but the soups I've had at all three were better than anything I tasted at Wagamama. I found Wagamama to be rather sterile. The menu's full of buzz, but the food didn't have any soul... like everything had been defatted and toned down to satisfy an Asian Lite crowd.

                    Hey, like I say, it was one lunch. Maybe we got a couple of bad bowls. And I'm not anti-chain. I just don't get the fuss over this particular one, and I don't see any compelling reason to patronize them other than convenience if they're really close by.

        2. I do have to agree with the poster that tasted the Wagamama in Boson. We started with Amsterdam a few years ago, and that was GOOD. Then the few in London, that was okay. But when we made it to Boston the last couple of years, that was BAD. So bad that I wrote an ugly comment card, and got a $20 voucher to go back for more...and I went again (without bothering to use the voucher) as I was desperately trying to catch my Amsterdam Wagamama memories...and failed again.

          Yes, I will try the DC Wagamama when they open. But I will not be expecting much.

          1 Reply
          1. If you get up near Carlisle, PA try "Issei Noodle", 54 W High St, Carlisle, PA 17013
            $$ - Moderate, Cafe, Fusion, Noodles. (13 votes, average: 3.77 out of 5) I'm going to give it 4.5. We love Thai, but have had very limited exposure to this food category. Carlisle is a very quaint little college town (Dickinson). Make a day of it stop at Gourd Shop , Emporium, and Army Heritage Museum

            1. I think what a lot of posts (prev to this) has failed to observe is the difference in audience and their tastes buds. Personally, I equate Wagamama as the PF Chang of Chinese cuisine. For those that are from or know REAL Chinese food, you know that General Tso has been 'dead' for quite some time and it isn't a current dish. Plus, Chinese food like most all other old country food changes over time (e.g., French).

              Bottom line: Wagamama is a solid choice for the non-authentic but wanting to try out the authentic Noodle house. Me personally, I'd opt to go if I can source a crowd of fans open to Noodle for a meal. Else, I'll stick with my local favorites.

              9 Replies
              1. re: rtheman

                Not only is General Tso's anything not a current dish, it was never even a PAST dish.

                If people like Wagamama, they like it. I grew up on real Chinese and still like American Chinese food every now and then. People who adore real Japanese food can love California rolls. There's room in the restaurant spectrum for every demographic and taste. Maybe that's why no one cared to observe that Wagamama is akin to PF Changs. With the lack of ANY good restaurant devoted mainly to Asian noodles of any kind, I'm sure it'll fill a niche. Sometimes taste catered to your palette/craving of the moment trumps "authenticity".

                1. re: yfunk3

                  I went to the Wagamama in Guildford the last time I was in London, and bleurgh - - a mass of very-overcooked noodles with a really weird chili sauce and overcooked deep-fried tofu chunks. I saw that it was opening here but I doubt I'll give it another chance.

                  1. re: rarotonga

                    It's the British version of Noodles and Company.

                    1. re: Jacey

                      I whole-heartedly disagree. Wagamama is what it is - a dumbed down version of Japanese cuisine specifically designed for Westerners. As long as you don't have illusions of authentic Japanese cuisine, it's fine. In fact, I'm not alone in thinking that the chili chicken ramen is pretty darn tasty!

                      Noodles and Company is shit - excuse my language.

                2. re: rtheman

                  Speaking only for myself, that's not the case at all. I don't place a higher value on "authentic" foods. I think they TEND to be better simply because they're time-tested, but just because they've been around for a long time doesn't make them inherently better. Good is good and bad is bad. Doesn't matter if it was invented yesterday or 2000 years ago.

                  The food I tasted at my singular visit to Wagamama was inauthentic, but that's not why I wasn't that impressed. I wasn't that impressed because I didn't think it was that great. Okay, I suppose, but nothing worth getting excited about and not worth returning unless it was very convenient.

                  1. re: Dmnkly

                    To me:

                    Noodles and Company = shit
                    Wagamama = Noodles and Company

                    Ate at the Copenhagen Wagamama last summer and completely wasted my last meal in Denmark. Not only was it a bad representation of Japanese ramen but it was the absolute worst ramen I've eaten anywhere on this planet.

                    1. re: onocoffee

                      OK, now I'm kind of curious about this place - the absolute worst ramen on the planet sounds like an experience that might be worth having, ONCE.

                      1. re: wombat

                        After having the worst ramen experience of my life and with a year to reflect upon it, all I can say is that is was not worth it.

                        1. re: wombat

                          I don't know - I had also eaten at the one in Amsterdam and it was ok (though now I can't remember what I ordered). So, you could risk wasting all that money on something that isn't even spectacularly bad enough to be funny.