The cold front that seems to be sticking over DC is rather saddening for the sweater-weather lover that I am but certain delights such as soup, ramen, and tea help remedy the situation. My friend Andrew Elliot, who was raised in Bangladesh, recently discovered a ramen shop in Adam’s Morgan so my friends and I bundled up and headed out. I would say Andrew knows a little bit about Asian food so I whole-heartedly trusted his recommendation, and the picture he sent of his ramen set up was even more enticing.
Sakuramen Ramen Bar was packed on the Saturday evening that we went and the line was almost out the door. The place was tiny and reminded me of Nom Wah Tea Parlor in New York City, sort of a hipster version of a traditional noodle shop. We were served green tea while we waited by the sweet old hostess and the wait only built up anticipation. The menu was simple as it should be at a ramen bar featuring steamed buns and seven ramen choices.
We started with an order of Chashu Buns, which were extremely delicious and flavorful. The bun was perfectly steamed and the pork inside was coated in a light soy glaze with peppered scallions that provided a nice, fresh crunch. I didn’t really want the pork bun to end but then it was ramen time.
I ordered the Spicy Miso Ramen that featured spicy miso broth with chashu, menma, scallions, corn, nori, and Sakuramen’s original fireball. The steaming bowl of ramen was heavenly and filled with an amazing mix of flavors and textures. I opted for the 3 on the spicy scale out of 5 and the dish was certainly hot enough for me but it did not blast out my palette. The heat and flavor was intense and left us all lapping up all the broth in our bowls. The noodles, along with all the vegetables were very fresh and well prepared. The simplicity of the accompanying ingredients really let the broth shine while providing ample amount of substance in the dish.
Sakuramen is definitely worth the wait and I am sure if you went over a weekday there would be less of a crowd. A bowl of hearty ramen is the perfect dish for a blustery day in DC, and the buzzing atmosphere of the small basement restaurant will also warm your spirits.