Daikaya Ramen in Penn Quarter - Report
Daikaya is a new, small ramen shop next door to Graffiato on 6th Street. the ramen is serious but not outstanding.
They offer four styles, and we sampled three of them. Shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), and miso (bean paste). We did not try the vegetarian ramen.
The shoyu here is similar to the shio, but with soy sauce and garlic added. We all preferred the shio for its delicate although uncomplicated flavor.
The bean paste is a different animal, and it's a good version. This is the version I'd choose if I was ordering just one bowl. All three have the same toppings, notable for the charred mixture of ground pork and bean sprouts that give all three styles a nice toasty flavor. The sliced roast pork (chashu) in all three was only ok, a bit stringy.
It's open all day. Right now it is only a tiny downstairs, but will soon have an upstairs area and probably offer more dumplings and other small bites. Expect a wait during lunch or in the evening. In between, this is a great place to know about if you are looking for a cheap, delicious, and quick meal.
The best secret I can tell you is a tiny back room that seats from 6 to 11 people. It can't be reserved, and they won't seat less than six there. I can already envision a Chowhound strategy......