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Oct 22, 2013 12:57 PM

Is there a better vegetarian dish in the District . . .

. . . than Daikaya's veggie ramen? Because if there is, it's surely something I want to know about right away.

I'm not sure this is even my favorite ramen at Daikaya -- I really love the miso and shio, too -- but it's a great, great bowl of soup. Wonderfully fresh and tasty snow peas, carrots, brussel sprouts, wood-ear and (fantastic) shiitake mushrooms. My favorite noodles in the city. (Disclosure: Still haven't been to Toki and thus can't compare.) And a broth made from garlic, ginger, sesame, seaweed and who knows what else that is surprisingly rich and complex, notwithstanding the absence of any animal protein. (Not *as* rich and complex as the miso, mind you, but the furthest thing from a wan veggie stock.)

If I were a vegetarian, I'd be dropping my $17 (after tip and tax -- and even more if one adds corn or egg, both of which improve it even further) there all too often. Unless, of course, there are equally delicious veggie offerings elsewhere at an even lower price point, in which case, by all means please fill this thread with recommendations!

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  1. I am still trying to get my head around $17 for a bowl of soup. Admittedly after tip and tax, but $17! For soup? And they haven't even supplied a decent meat, in the case of the veggy ramen...
    Are the other ingredients that much more precious than Pho? Because I have never paid $17 for a big bowl of Pho.
    Or is it just a celebrity chef markup deal? Because I hate to finance celebrity chefs.
    I have a sense that the emperor has no clothes. It may be a decent bowl of ramen, but it probably ain't worth $10. And we are being asked to pay $17. Which is why I have yet to pay for a bowl of that larcenously expensive broth.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Ziv

      The ramen is $13.25 on the menu. I would have no problem spending that money downtown for a great bowl of ramen. Or for any ample plate of delicious food.* If I go elsewhere in the hood, I could spend double and still be hungry or disappointed. Or both.

      So, Ziv, where do you go in that neighborhood and spend $13.25?

      * This is not a personal rec since I didn't have the veggie ramen.

      1. re: Steve

        Well, in fairness, the shrimp dumpling noodle soup just around the corner at Full Kee (and at several other nearby places) is still less than $7, as is the congee. I do wish the ramen at Daikaya were more on the order of $10 -- but then, I wish that were true, as well, of the ramen at Ren's, and Sushi Taro, and Ippudo in NYC, etc.

        1. re: Steve

          Steve, I take your point. I guess I need to just try the ramen in a good ramen place and see what the buzz is about. Talking about something I haven't tried is not exactly something I like to do, but it still feels like I am financing someones French chateau.
          I mean, it is soup. I am used to $7-$8 bowls of Pho full of beef. And this is a $13 bowl of veggies, kelp and stock. That is some wicked markup. And once ramen isn't the flavor du jour, I would bet that the price will drop below $10 at most places. I just keep seeing John Travolta jeering about a $5 milk shake...
          All that having been said, I still need to go somewhere and try it if I am going to talk about it.

          1. re: Ziv

            I guess you have to realize, also, just how much the ingredients cost in a very good bowl of ramen. In general it is considered more time-consuming and ingredient- intensive than pho or the soup at Full Kee. I don't know how they make it at Daikaya, but boiling down ingredients for hours is time-consuming and expensive. In addition, a serious bowl of ramen involves several steps including roasting, grilling, etc. Some are a two-day process.

            My three favorites in the area are the kimchi ramen at Toki, the miso ramen at Ren's (Wheaton) and the once-a-month lunch special at Sushi Taro, usually announced the day before on their twitter feed. The last time I was at Ren's I ordered the noodles 'katame' (hard), and they came out perfectly - for my taste.