Ramen shop Haikan debuted a little over a week ago to much fanfare right in the heart of Shaw. Like sister restaurant Daikaya, Haikan serves Sapporo-style ramen, but each soup has its own subtle differences.
Haikan, housed in the Atlantic Plumbing Building, already has 15 reviews on Yelp with an overall four-star rating. The 59-seat restaurant, with a 40-person patio, is the team's biggest ramen venture yet. Read on to hear what the critics and public are saying about the much-anticipated ramen outpost.
The Off Without A Hitch News: DC Wrapped Dates encountered a line wrapped around the corner on opening night, which was worth it: "Dinner at Haikan probably was the most graceful restaurant opening we've seen in years. And if this is what dinner is like now, that snaking line that greeted us upon arrival might just be a permanent feature." [DC Wrapped Dates]
The Uber Authentic News: Yelper Yumi R. was all about the Shoyu Broth, with "a taste and complexity are pretty much straight out of Japan. The noodles are a chewy, bouncy texture, chashu pork was juicy and thick, the soft boiled egg is how it should be, as are the nori, and a small handful of beansprouts. The broth is not overdone, oversalted, or over-Americanized." [Yelp]
The It's More Than Ramen News: Don't discount the "solid" sides, instructs DCist: "The crab rangoon is the upscale version of the Chinese restaurant staple that you never knew you needed, with chunks of real crab and delightfully creamy cheese inside." And The Washington Post taste tested the mapo tofu poutine, with chef Katsuya Fukushima's rendition of the spicy Chinese classic having fresh mozzarella curds. "Fries are made to order; the dish proved so popular just days into the restaurant's existence that the kitchen ran out of spuds one night." [DCist, WaPo]
The Buzzed News: Washingtonian notes the concise list of creative cocktails like the "wasabi peas" with floral Edinburgh gin, fresh snow peas, finely-grated wasabi, and citrusy yuzu juice. "If you prefer a cocktail sans salad, try the sparkling sochu sangria that's carbonated in-house. Groups can go in for carafes of sake and large-format beers. Being a Sapporo-style ramen shop, Sapporo beer will always be on draft." [Washingtonian]
The Save Room For Dessert News: Brightest Young Things tried the Kakigori, a Japanese shaved ice, calling it "a damn good summer treat. You cannot go wrong at Haikan, you just have to get here soon. Before everyone else does." [BYT]
The Brutalism News: Washington City Paper applauds the design by Brian Miller, senior project designer at Edit Lab at Streetsense, who "went for a brutalism meets metabolism effect with concrete, exposed ductwork, and strong colors...The ceiling—a honeycomb of wood triangles in green, red, and mustard—is one of the standout features...On nice days, garage-style doors can open to create a breezy feel inside the restaurant." [WCP]