Reinventing Ramen

From campus cool to D.C. hot

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It’s five hours before Toki Underground opens its doors to customers, but the cubbyhole of a restaurant perched above a bar along H Street in Washington, D.C., is already busy. Inside the impossibly small kitchen, owner and chef Erik Bruner-Yang ’07 and a colleague dump buckets of pork marrow bones into cavernous metal pots and set them to simmering on the stovetop. Behind them, a third member of the team chops fresh vegetables that will season steaming bowls of ramen later that evening. A few feet away, a fourth sorts curly strands of noodles into uniform piles. The restaurant’s bar is papered with invoices as deliverymen come and go, dropping off beverages, crates of plastic carryout containers, and bunches of fresh ginger, garlic, and mustard greens. The deliveries come daily to 1234 H St. NE for two reasons. First, Bruner-Yang will use only the freshest ingredients when whipping up dishes like mom used to make. Second, at 675 square feet, the tiny Toki Underground − … [Read more...]