Once Upon a Time… DC was a ramen desert.
Then we had a few bold, serious new spots like Toki Underground or Ren’s Ramen in Wheaton to show us how good ramen can be.
Then… everyone jumped on the bandwagon. There was ramen everywhere, but nowhere. Plenty of choices if you want some ramen with your sushi, or the other way around. Very democratic that.
Then there is Menya Hosaki. It is tiny with limited service. Wed thru Fri dinner only and Tuesday for lunch. More like a true ramen-ya than anywhere else near here. Just ramen with also karaage. No vending machine outside, but a very adult and sane system for the waiting list. Really works well, scheduled through their Yelp page during service hours. They let you know when to show up! Go at opening or put your name on the list.
You can tell just how crispy and salty the karaage is from the picture. Fried chicken nuggets in their ideal form. Photo is after we ate most of the bowlful.
I ordered the Triple Threat ramen, made from three broths: pork, chicken and smoky dashi. A thick, smoky, and deeply satisfying soup with layers upon layers of flavor. Chashu is very good, bamboo shoot has a fresh, natural texture you won’t find elsewhere. I find the noodles here to be softer than I like, so next time I will order them ‘katame.’ I’ll see where that gets me. This is a ramen worth going out of your way for.
My son ordered the Tantan ramen, similar to the Triple Threat I suppose but with the addition of sesame and chili oil to make it ‘somewhat’ true to its Sichuan roots. I was disappointed when he ordered it because I consider it to be the ‘irritating’ version of ramen, and not like a good, rich tantan in Japan. in the US, it’s like an add-on. I found the one here better than most, but if I go for a spicy ramen, I’d stick with the kimchi ramen at Toki Underground. Though I haven’t been there since the pandemic. Notice in the picture how it looks similar to the Triple Threat but simply redder. It shouldn’t.
IIUC, the ramen at Tuesday lunch is unique, and maybe they change it up every week. I am very much looking forward to that. I will return for their tonkotasu, shoyu and shio ramen.