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Jul 29, 2014 10:11 AM

Toki Underground is an awesome little place

Was headed to DC from NJ and realised we could easily reroute and hit Toki Underground for lunch last week and boy are we ever glad we did. Walked right in shortly after they opened and grabbed a seat at the counter so we could chat with the bartender (Sidenote: She was super nice and extremely personable) and get some good info on the place.

We started with a couple of bottled Japanese beers that you don't see all the time and then grabbed some ramen.

My GF (a vegetarian) had the vegetarian ramen which consisted of: Roasted root vegetable soup, tofu, daikon, pickled cucumbers, shitake mushrooms, seasonal vegetables, sesame, scallions, nori and she added a soft egg. She really enjoyed it and it was not the "run of the mill" vegetarian ramen, it was surprizing how much depth they managed to get from a veg based broth, I tired it and as a carnivore I loved it; a meat eater would not be missing anything if they went with the veg ramen here.

Me being a kimchi junky I naturally went with the kimchi ramen which consisted of: tonkotsu triple stock with chashu pulled pork, seasonal vegetables, soft egg, red pickled ginger, sesame, scallions, nori, topped with kimchi and I added the fried shrimp heads. It was addictively good, great balance of flavor v. heat, the tonkotsu had good body, the pulled pork was super flavorful, the kimchi retained that nice crunch in the think part of the cabbage, and the shrimp heads were an excellent addition. I also got kae-dama since I had broth left and didn't want it going to waste.

We had another round of beers while eating the ramen and then closed out the afternoon with a couple of their "signature" cocktails, GF had the 'Talk Derby To Me', obviously a variation of a julep, very good, and I had the 'Toki Monster' which was Bulliet Bourbon, Barenjager, Peat Monster Scotch, and it came with a toothpicked piece of pork belly kushiyaki. I was instructed that I could eat it right away but the bartender said she likes to stir it around and leave it in the drink for a while which is what I did and boy was it good. If you like Bourbon and bacon get this drink.

Service was very nice, super friendly.

So a completely successful detour that we were very glad we made. When in the area we will definately be heading back and if you like ramen you need to check this place out.

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  1. Kimchi ramen here is da bomb. I wish could say the same for the others. Have not tried the vegetarian.

    1. Thanks for the review.

      1. What time and day did you go? I'm surprised you were able to just pop in and get a seat.

        5 Replies
        1. re: takadi

          It was a Wednesday, right around noon I believe, I'm sure it was shortly after they started serving because there was only about 5 other people eating when we got there but it was almost full when we left. It was particulary nice that we were able to sit at the "bar" so we could ask questions.

          1. re: takadi

            I wonder if it helped that it was summer. Although Toki has an insane wait time almost all year round. I was once told it would be a 5 hour wait (needless to say I went elsewhere)

            1. re: msjess

              Wow, I had no idea we were that fortunate to just walk in.

              1. re: msjess

                I call BS on "five hour wait". They might as well just close the shop. I remember going there one time and being told a ridiculous wait time like that, and after much badgering they told us they reserved the entire restaurant for a private party. Most of the time I go there though, I have to wait at least 30 minutes

                1. re: takadi

                  I was in there mid-afternoon on a weekend, and there was a 30 minute wait, and this is in summer when things are supposed to be dead. The host told me that primetime dinner waits remain 2-3 hours.