Sakuramen is D.C.'s Hottest New Soup Shop

21 Nov
November 21, 2012

With winter comes many wonderful things: Thanksgiving, December holidays, even an entirely new year at the beginning of January.

But there’s one thing that winter brings that almost everyone dislikes: low temperatures, and with it, colds galore. Sniffling and sneezing, shivering and shaking, wearing the warmest of clothing and still feeling chilly.

Every person detests that awful feeling of being sick. But almost all of us have the same perfect remedy for the common cold.

Soup.

And just in time for the winter season, a spectacular soup shop has opened up in Adams Morgan, where you can sip hot broths and eat  sumptuous, spicy toppings, with flavors and temperatures sure to amplify your body’s natural defenses against the cold and colds.

Sakuramen sits right on 18th Street NW, a block south of Columbia Road, in the heart of Adams Morgan. It’s one of the many nice restaurants that have recently joined the neighborhood, helping to turn the area from a college-centric, bar-hopping locale to a place where locals young and old can visit for an enjoyable evening out.

The small shop, on the basement floor of an old row house, serves ramen, the Japanese-style soup that’s become more and more popular in this city. While it was once known as a cheap snack in plastic packets, in Washington, D.C, ramen is now an upscale meal.

Sakura, in Japanese means cherry blossom, like the trees that dot this city as sign of partnership between here and Tokyo. And the restaurant’s space emphasizes that, with pictures of the flower throughout, as well as a color palette of bright and dull yellows, deep reds and intense blacks. It’s a beautiful little space, and it is little. There are only about 20 seats at Sakuramen, which means that you either need to arrive early or endure a wait, because the place has exploded in popularity.

It’s thanks to the soup, but served alongside it are delicious and plentiful appetizer options. Gyoza, dumplings stuffed with pork, come out almost immediately, with skin a deep, caramel brown, pan-fried to crisp perfection. Chashu Buns are Sakuramen’s take on steamed pork buns, and are served with thick slices of pork that melt in your mouth. The meat is enhanced by the fluffy and soft bun it’s served on, as well as shoots of crisp green scallions and a dollop of hoisin sauce.

While the appetizers are spectacular, it’s the soup that steals the show. Sakuramen serves seven different bowls of ramen, all which highlight different types of broth, vegetables and meat. There is the DC Miso, their ode to this city, with a broth a combination of chicken stock and miso. The Sakuramen is their signature bowl, which is a vegetarian ramen, with green onion, mushrooms, corn and nori.

One of the tastiest bowls they serve is the Tonkotsu ramen, a red pork broth which comes with hefty slices of pork belly and wood mushrooms. All the bowls come with freshly made noodles, so soft and tender they practically disappear as you chew them. And all soups come with the option to add additional treats. There are balls of spice you can order to heat up your broth. Also on the add-in menu are soft-boiled eggs, house-made kimchi, and bacon.

The restaurant is open until six days a week for dinner, from 5:0o p.m.-10:30 p.m. and for lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. stating at 11:30 a.m. It is closed on Monday.

So this winter, if you feel a cold coming on, or just need a comforting bowl of soup to tide you over until the warmer days of winter, head to Sakuramen in Adams Morgan.

-David

 

 

 

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