Bride & Groom MOM Subscribe

Find Local

Best Bites Blog > Food & Restaurant News

What’s It Like to Eat at a Toki Underground Pop-Up Dinner?

We infiltrated the ramen joint’s recent Chinese New Year feast to find out.

Staff gather at Toki Underground to school themselves on dishes in advance of the restaurant’s recent Chinese New Year pop-up. Photographs by Erik Uecke.

Slideshow: Inside A Toki Underground Pop-Up 

“We want people to know we’re a real restaurant,” says Toki Underground chef-owner Erik Bruner-Yang, perched on one of the ramen shop’s signature stools. Given the eatery’s tendencies towards hour-plus-long waits and a menu packed with foodie bait—pork cheeks, goat-centric specials, sparkling sake on tap—it’s clear that Toki is, indeed, a very real restaurant. But once in a while it’s good to pull out all the stops and flex different culinary muscles, and that’s where the Toki pop-ups come in.

Bruner-Yang and his crew haven’t gone pop-up crazy—there’ve only been a few—but it’s worth keeping your eye out for them and reserving early. (The two most recent dinners have sold out within four hours of being announced.) Meals like this are a chance both to catch heavy hitters like the Source’s Scott Drewno or Eddie Huang of Bao House in Manhattan playing outside their own kitchens, and to test out something different from a familiar restaurant. Bruner-Yang says the next pop-up will be in March, possibly focused on another popular soup dish: pho.

This past Tuesday, chef Thang Le was recruited from in-house for prix-fixe Chinese New Year meal. Drawing on experience gathered during stints at Iggy’s in Singapore and Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York, Le switched from dishing up ramen to an eight-course menu themed around traditional New Year’s ingredients said to bring prosperity and good fortune. Check out the slideshow for food-porny pics of every course.

Read Next

Sunday Night Suppers: Alice Waters and Joan Nathan Pop In at the Purdum-Myers Party

blog comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular on Washingtonian

4 Projects That Are Going to Change Washington

The Troubled, Tormented, Surprisingly Lucky Life of Michael Graham

The Great Washington Bucket List: 50 Things Every Local Needs to Do

One Lawyer's Trip Down the "Serial" Rabbit Hole

This Bloody Mary With A Lox Bagel Garnish Is Genius

29 DC Events You Should Go to This Month

Rabia Chaudry: "Jay Is Close to Whoever Did It"

This Mansion Just Became DC’s Priciest Home

The Audacious Plan to Turn a Sprawling DC Suburb Into a Big City