The Mosaic District in Merrifeild, VA is quickly growing into the next hot spot in Northern VA and where hot spots go, foodies are not far behind. The popular Vietnamese restaurant, Four Sisters, was one of the first brave restaurant owners to venture into this newly constructed area and others quickly followed. And now it’s brought us a little piece of LA trendiness.
JINYA is a popular chain ramen bar that has been spreading across the U.S. and now is in our backyard and soon to open a second location in downtown DC.
I’m a bit of a skeptic with all of these new ramen restaurants popping up in the area lately but JINYA has a good variety of tasty ramen choices and a great line up of accompanying appetizers.
Tonkotsu Black was my favorite of all the Ramen choices because it had a nice bold flavor and you could tell that Jinya had taken special care in preparing the broth. I was also oddly drawn to their Spicy Creamy Vegan. I’m by no means a vegetarian but I wouldn’t have been able to tell that this wasn’t the normal pork-based ramen soup since they seasoned it so well. And don’t forget it’s a bar too. They have a fully tended bar with some very unique specialty drinks that you won’t want to pass up. You’ll find something spicy and even exotic flavors you’ve haven’t previously tried and they don’t go easy on the liquor!
I’m an appetizer lover so I was fixated on their number of appetizer choices for a ramen bar. The JINYA Bun was my favorite. I’m a lover of Chinese roast pork buns (char sui bao – 叉燒包) and JINYA’s does not disappoint. But it also doesn’t taste like your traditional pork buns either. It has a thicker BBQ sauce giving it more of a tangy kick rather than the typical sweetness. Their Tokoyaki (Octopus Ball) is also another popular item. The ball itself was very good; however, it sits in too much sauce, so the bun seemed to be drowning.
Great food and great atmosphere. It’s definitely a spot to hit up after work or with friends on the weekend.
Editor’s Notes: I ate at Jinya last week and want to add a few things. Jinya is one of several local ramen joints (Including Reren Lamen in Chinatown and Gaijin in Arlington) that makes they own noodles, which is a good thing. I was impressed with Jinyas ramen including the toppings, broth, noodles, and variety. I will definitely return to work my way through the menu.
I will say that this is a young, busy (there was a line outside at 5pm on a week night), high energy (in staff and ambient sound) restaurant, which combined with dim lighting and white on black menus (I was tempted to use a flashlight app to read the menu) … takes a little getting used to.