New Year’s Day in my family always consists of feasting on Japanese food. Ever since I was little I remember my dad and aunts cooking for days leading up to the holiday, led by Chef Grandma, making rolls of sushi, marinating pork for roasting and cutting up dozens of brightly-colored unidentifiable objects. There was nothing like combating the sugar overdose that was Christmas with the heavy salt intake of Japanese food on New Year’s Day.
Last year was the first year in my life that I missed the annual feast because I was in Chicago. Fearing terrible luck throughout 2013 if my first meal of the year wasn’t Japanese food, my friends and I tracked down ramen at Chicago’s Slurping Turtle and let me tell you a little secret :: ramen is the best cure for a hangover, ever. Ever!
So when I found myself away from my family for the second year in a row on New Year’s Day, this year in Washington, D.C., I thought I’d start a tradition of my own and find some ramen again. (I swear it had absolutely nothing to do with ramen’s hangover-redeeming qualities. Nothing.) After asking around, several people recommended Daikaya.
Daikaya was just like the places I visited in Kyoto for ramen, with a large communal table, booths and bar seating. The downstairs serves strictly ramen while the upstairs is an Izakaya with bar food, sushi and ramen. (They even have brunch!) They have five different kinds of ramen, focusing on the Sapporo-style (with thicker noodles and a lighter broth) and have a whole array of toppings to add to your bowl like extra noodles, soft-boiled egg, Irish sweet cream, corn, etc.
I ordered the Spicy Miso Ramen ($13), with a white miso base and bean sprouts that were sauteed in a wok to give them an amazingly awesome smokey flavor. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ground pork (as I love the slices of pork), but it was a delicious cure for my hangover from my New Year’s Eve extravaganzas. I mean… it was a perfect meal to start 2014.
Go to Daikaya for :: ramen!! What else? Notes :: Open Sunday-Monday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., and Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.- midnight. Reservations are available online here.