Cheap Eats 2011: Ren’s Ramen

The original location, a glorified kitchenette in Bethesda, lasted little more than a year before the market that housed it closed. But that was long enough to develop a clientele drawn both by novelty–ramen is in scarce supply in Washington–and by dependably good Sapporo-style soup.

The new location is a more comfortable spot with better seating and more attentive service; the menu is the same slender document as before, with four types of broth and an array of add-ins. Miso is the standout, a complex broth whose balance of saltiness, sweetness, and richness compels you to keep slurping. The noodles, imported from Sapporo, have the pleasantly chewy texture of all good pasta. The difference between this ramen and the instant stuff you tanked down in your dorm is the difference between a Big Mac and a hand-chopped burger on the grill.

Also good: Shoyu ramen (in soy-sauce broth); add-ons of sliced pork, seaweed, and braised egg.

Open daily for lunch and dinner; closed every second and third Tuesday of the month.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.