2441 18th St NW, Washington, DC
If you’re walking too quickly down 18th Street in Adams Morgan, you might end up passing this nondescript but amazing ramen restaurant. Set in the basement of a rowhouse, Sakuramen’s chill vibe is a pleasant contrast to Adams Morgan’s normally bustling (aka wild) 18th Street bar scene.
Since Sakuramen is a small restaurant and reservations aren’t taken, there is usually a wait. Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself bumping elbows with the table next to you. Everyone that goes to Sakuramen knows, that because of its size, you’re bound to be up close and personal with your neighbors. Don’t worry, though, this is what adds to its charm!
Besides the wait, getting a table at Sakuramen is an experience. When I arrived, I caught eyes with the host and managed to request a table for 4 without speaking a word. With a head nod, a wave and nothing but the use of his ten fingers, the host managed to navigate a long wait list of patrons. It was actually kind of mesmerizing to watch! He swiftly walked from table to table keeping a mental note of which group was to be seated next, and when it was our time, he gave us a simple nod and sat us down. Never saying a word! It might seem weird, but it was actually endearing and done effectively. I liked it!
Where Sakuramen lacks in space and words, it makes up for in its choice of music. There is nothing like kicking it on a Sunday afternoon to 90’s R&B and Hip-Hop. Think classic Biggie, 112 and Big Pun. Think of slurping up a warm bowl of ramen while bumping to Blackstreets “No Diggity.” Their playlist creates a very relaxed and nostalgic vibe, and I was definitely in my glory.
Not only is their playlist great, but of course, their ramen is great also. When ordering your ramen, make sure to let them know your desired spice level. Spice levels range from 1 – 10, 10 being unheard of unless you like having your taste buds burned off. I got a 2 and as a person who does not like spice, it was perfect. If you do like spice, a safe and satisfying level is 5 or 6. Anything higher than a 6, good luck!
“And if you don’t know, now you know” – Biggie
Sliced ribeye bulgogi. Packed with flavor. Tip: Get two orders! They are that good.
Roasted pork belly. I am pork belly fanatic, and these did not disappoint.
Their classic ramen bowl. Tip: Order extra noodles.
A meat lover’s dream ramen bowl. Sliced bulgogi and pork belly.
Sliced ribeye bulgogi with roasted kimchi.
Next time you’re in DC or Adams Morgan, make sure to check out this true ramen gem!