• 24Jan

    Arlington’s Columbia Pike doesn’t have the numerous options of other areas in the county, but it does have a diversity of choices, Boru Ramen being one of them. I love ramen, and this is my favorite ramen in all of Arlington, and others seem to agree with me. While not the most amazing ramen, it’s good and I enjoy it.

    I find the the gyoza lacking, which is a bit sad, given that I love dumplings. It’s fairly bland, and it hasn’t led me to try anything else on the appetizer menu, so I recommend not coming when you are completely starving. As for ramen, hakata tonkotsu, which is pork bone broth, chashu, bamboo, sesame, seaweed, and scallion. I usually add bok choy as well. It’s not too rich, but still very flavorful, and the noodles are perfectly chewy and never overcooked. I prefer this to the chicken broth options (shoyu and shio versions), which I’ve found to be less flavorful. You can add on a fried chile oil, and I usually do. It’s super spicy, which I appreciate, and since I usually have leftovers, I can take it home with me. The drink menu is fun, and I had a champagne-based cocktail recently that I loved.

    Service is friendly and Boru does fill up quickly. I’m thrilled Boru is in the neighborhood, and I find myself visiting more and more frequently.

    -LEM

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  • 20Jul

    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!

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    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.

    -ADT

    ——————-

    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.

    -JAY

  • 11Jun

    We recently ran across Reren Lamen & Bar (817 7th St NW), which is in the soft opening stage and near Chinatown. Leopold (the owner) says that his noodle soup is “lamen” instead of ramen because he uses fresh (house-made) noodles. My google search didn’t come up with this distinction, but I’ll defer in this matter to the man making delicious noodle dishes.

    We tried the dan dan noodles, a Sichuan favorite that is served room at temperature, two lamens (one was the spicy Kung Fu Beef), soup dumplings, scallion pancakes with beef (Leopold calls them Chinese Tacos), and General Tso’s bourbon chicken. All the dishes were tasty, but the lamen dishes were the clear favorites. Everyone has the one friend who has to order General Tso’s (he was with me), but at least it is a well-executed version.

    Leopold also owns the Hot People food truck, although it is not currently in use.

    -JAY

  • 05Dec

    There are plenty of Asian and Asian fusion restaurants in Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia that serve a variety of ramen dishes, but seldom are restaurants in which ramen is their specialty. Toki Underground has become notorious for reigning as the go-to ramen house in the area, but their H Street location in D.C. is quite an inconvenience for NoVa foodie lovers.

    Until now.

    Say hello to Tanpopo Ramen House, located next to the well-known Chinese hole-in-the-wall restaurant, A&J, in Annandale, Virginia. The Tanpopo Ramen House establishment is small but their interior décor, level of cleanliness, and customer service surpassed my expectations.

    As for the ramen, I ordered the Spicy Beef Ramen and my friend had the Pork Belly Ramen. Here is our ramen critique for both:

    Spicy Beef Ramen (base price $12):

    The beef was actually ground beef, which left me disappointed. I was not expecting ground beef at all. The level of spiciness is subjective; I prefer my soups to give my taste buds a real spicy kick and found this particular bowl not as spicy as the name claimed to be. The broth is a 3 out of 5; it did not possess a certain intensity of spice or flavor I was hoping to indulge in, but it was nonetheless enjoyable. As for the noodles, they are a 2 out of 5. The noodles were not under or overcooked, but they were the same quality as prepackaged ramen you can buy at any Asian grocery store. I expected better. At an additional charge of $1 each, I requested add-ons of corn and an egg (the corn was pretty much the focal point of the ramen). I give Tanpopo a 3 out of 5.

    Pork Belly Ramen (base price $13):

    My friend chose to add more spice to his ramen (for an extra $1). From the 3-levels of spiciness (1-spicy, 2-very spicy, 3-extremely spicy), he chose 3. As experienced spicy food lovers, it’s safe to say that level 3 is an EXTREMELY spicy option (I sampled the soup, it tasted like fire). Request with caution! As for the noodles, he also agreed that the noodle quality was exceptionally lower than he anticipated. The pork belly meat was the focal point of his ramen due to its supreme tenderness and deliverance of flavor. My friend gives Tanpopo a 3.5 out of 5.

    This fairly new restaurant does not get a promising review mostly because of the noodle quality (arguably the most important aspect in ramen besides the broth). Hopefully, Tanpopo will switch up their noodles and revamp their broth recipe after reading this review (wink wink). This ramen house has A LOT of potential and a considerable amount of competitive leverage as a rare ramen house in Northern Virginia. I will come back in a few months to see if the setbacks have been tweaked.

    -EHY (Guest Writer)

    (Editor’s Note: See her other article DCFüd here. -JAY)

    Tanpopo Ramen House on Urbanspoon

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