|Address:||805 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA|
|Working:||5–10PM 5–10:30PM 12–2:30PM 12–2:30PM 11:30AM–11PM 11:30AM–11PM 11:30AM–10PM|
Im a big ramen addict, and I absolutely love the Daikaya team. Theyve given us Daikaya and Bantam King, and now Haikan is also added to the mix. They just had their grand opening last Saturday. For my friends birthday yesterday, we headed over the Shaw area to score some Haikan ramen. The space is much larger than their Daikaya counterpart. I thought the multi-colored triangular ceiling grid with lights was neat, and apparently its inspired by the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. The architecture is industrial and modern. In addition to tables, the ramen counter has over 50 seats and theres a long communal table outside as well. While we did have to wait, the wait wasnt nearly as long as some of my visits to Daikaya. Haikan specializes in Sapporo-style ramen. The noodles are custom-made in Sapporo, Japan. Their stock is chintan, which has a delicate, complex flavor and contains chicken, beef, and pork. We each ordered the shoyu ramen ($12.75). All ramen comes with garlic, onions, bean sprouts, ground pork, roasted pork, chashu, nori, and scallions. Our shoyu also came half an egg. Of course, you can add more toppings like bamboo, extra noodles, corn, butter, etc. I liked my shoyu ramen. The noodles were good and so was the broth. There wasnt too much soy sauce that neither overwhelmed the overall complexity and flavor profile of the chintan broth nor made me have to gulp down my water. The toppings are pretty generous. I felt like there was a never-ending supply of bean sprouts, onions, and ground pork! In addition to shoyu, they also have shio, miso, and vegetable. Aside from ramen, Haikan serves appetizers like mapo tofu poutine, mussels, a Caprese salad, cucumber salad, and more. We also ordered their kakigori ($5) for dessert. Kakigori is Japanese shaved ice, similar to bingsoo in Korea. The flavors rotate but we got matcha, which is my favorite! Save room for dessert because youre going to want to try some of this. Service was fantastic. Our server was very friendly and very efficient. We got our ramen and dessert very quickly after ordering. If I ever find myself in this area again, Id definitely come back for more ramen. Given its proximity to the 9:30 Club, I can see Haikan being very busy before and after shows.
Im very disappointed to have to give Haikan only 2 stars, and I will be fair as to say why. First the positives: They stay open late, great for after concert dinner as its next to the 930 club. The ramen was very flavorful, I was very pleased. Good cocktail options and waiter seemed entertaining and knowledgable. I was ready to give them a high review, until at 10:30pm the low dimmed lighting that really set the tone for an evening dinner was interrupted by the staff turning all the lights on blast so they could "close early" while people were still eating. (hours said 11pm) We werent 5 minutes into enjoying dinner when the entire mood was changed. What really upset us the most is we mentioned it to our "attentive" waiter and he brushed us off stating they wanted to "close early". Unfortunately because the kitchen is open to the dining area, we ate with pots and pans being banged, staff being loud, and lights on full brightness. We have written the company to no response, which I believe is the first way to go. Very disappointed in how they handled the situation. Food is only a cherry on the top to a good experience. Any successful business owner understands this.
I wish I could say I love this place. I patiently waited ever since I moved into Atlantic Plumbing for it open. With a anime watching, manga reading, cosplaying boyfriend... authentic Japanese ramen was something we couldnt wait to try. Maybe I hyped it up too much in my mind, but it just didnt live up to my high expectations. We had the cast iron mussels, which were eh just okay; and the crab rangoon; also about on par with many carryouts in DC. But we thought maybe they save everything up for the exclusively imported ramen. So we had the shoyu ramen with the spice bomb, and it just felt regular. Dont get me wrong, the broth was delicious, and the ramen had just the right texture and crunch, but it wasnt spicy at all. For all the hype, honestly, I had better at Sakuramen. In addition, the beer prices are outrageous! I work in the restaurant industry and so I understand the COGS, but charging about the price of a six pack for low abv beer is ridiculous. The saving grace is the service is top-notch! My server was so knowledgable, funny, and generally made an okay meal, a great experience.
Experience was excellent. My friend and I ordered the crab rangoons, and Shoyu ramen with a spice bomb. Both were absolutely excellent! Best flavored Ramen I have had in DC so far. Also ordered the hot apple cider (minus the Japanese whisky) beverage which had an excellent flavor also (not too sweet), but wasnt really hot enough in my opinion. For those worried about the spiciness of the spice bomb, I thought it added and excellent flavor and not quite medium spice. I love spicy, but not the kind that makes my tongue numb, and this was perfect with just a little heat. Best part, I am 38 weeks pregnant and did not swell to the size of a balloon the next morning from the salt (like I do with Pho).
Since this is described as a Sapporo-style ramen shop, I decided to get miso ramen. Every ramen comes with a set of toppings including pork, chashu, bean sprouts, seaweed, and maybe a few other things. Anyway, the ramen was not very impressive. The broth was lacking in flavor, the noodles were slightly hard/stale, the chashu tasted like it was marinated in some sort of fruit soda, and the grilled bits of pork did not go well with the rest of the bowl. The ambience and the service were good, which is why Im giving Haikan 3 stars. Ill give the shoyu a shot next time and maybe that will improve my opinion of Haikan. But so far, it does not match up to its sister restaurant Daikaya.
I never thought Id see the day that my beloved seasame curry chicken ramen from H Street NEs Toki Underground could be rivaled until dining at Haikan. The shoyu ramen with corn and a slab of butter (just go with it) is AMAZING! It may be the best ramen Ive ever had....perfectly flavorful with the right portion of pork to noodles to broth. If you like sweet drinks, order the draft sun-gu-ria. Its perfect for a sunny day. The restaurant itself is in a great part of town and the space is very simple and light. If its a good day outside, ask to be seated at the long wooden community table outside. I cannot wait to go back!
While the food was very good (we had the mussels, deviled eggs, and shoyu ramen), we found the atmosphere to be incredibly sterile and lacking personality. It looks like a chipotle with similarly inoffensive music. The prices were also pretty outrageous: $6 for what seemed like a 10 ounce pour of soporro. Service was also terrible at the communal table with servers delivering the wrong food constantly. Glad to see the culture of Shaw being destroyed by places like this.
I tried the spicy Shoyu, which was delicious and the only saving grace of this place. The service was awful: The server didnt bring any of my tables drinks for at least 30 minutes, several people in the group never even received their food, and the servers were incredibly rude. The manager resolved a seating issue with all the tact of an angry 5-year-old. I plan on giving it another try, but if the service doesnt improve, they will lose repeat customers.