Expect hour waits—even at lunch—for this 40-seat ramen shop across from the Verizon Center. Here’s why: In a city awash in ultra-porky tonkatsu ramen, chef Katsuya Fukushima’s lighter Sapporo-style soups offer more variety and nuance than the competition. Customers hunker on box-like benches, sipping beer to the tune of Jay-Z and a constant sizzling from the kitchen’s woks, which sear vegetables or add a roasted flavor to broth swirled in the pan. You won’t go wrong with any of the five styles of ramen, including a delicate shio (salt broth) and an earthy mugi-miso, swimming with springy noodles, bean sprouts, scallions, soy-marinated egg, and roasted and ground pork (the meatless version is excellent, too). Head to the second-floor izakaya for superb cocktails while you wait—recently, we’ve found the small plates up there to be lackluster.
Don’t miss: Add-ons such as seared vegetables (Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, carrots) and the “bakudan spice bomb” laced with pork; seasonal soft-serve.