100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 38 Daikaya

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Photograph by Scott Suchman.

The ramen craze of the last decade has dovetailed with the pro kitchen’s obsession with everything pig. So you’ll usually find Japanese noodle soups enriched with plenty of porky fat and flavor. Those meaty broths are here, too, in the downstairs ramen shop—and they’re good—but it’s a feat that the kitchen’s vegetarian version, topped with Brussels sprouts, braised mushrooms, and charred bean sprouts, bests them all.

The woodsy upstairs room has less of a quick-serve feel and is dedicated to a more varied menu of skewers, fried snacks, and small plates. There, chef Katsuya Fukushima, who came up under José Andrés, pushes the boundaries of the izakaya form with dishes like burrata with dashi gelée, grilled avocado with ponzu, and an umami bomb of a chawanmushi (Japanese egg custard) done up with Parmesan and enoki mushrooms.

Don’t miss:

  • Shio (salt) and shoyu (soy) ramen
  • Pork-belly rice bowl
  • Crab croquettes
  • Rice balls stuffed with miso pork
  • Spaghetti with cod roe and cream sauce

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.