Editors' pick

Toki Underground

Asian
$$$$ ($14 and under)
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Editorial Review

2012 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012

My favorite soup kitchen counts fewer than 30 seats. Which means there's almost always a line snaking up the stairs of the second-story shoebox watched over by Erik Bruner-Yang. But talk about good things in small packages! Even if the young chef's open kitchen didn't dole out the best ramen in the city, I would come for an exceptional cocktail or a non-soup special, maybe an Asian (and porky) spin on baba ghanouj. “The whole restaurant is a chef's table," says my buddy, taking in the stool-only seating that gives most of the crowd a view of the talent. Red paper lanterns cast a flattering glow. Skateboards are reincarnated as guardrails and foot rests. Everyone is smiling, and slurping. While I gravitate most often to the ramen fired up with kimchi -- swirled with a combination of three robust, made-right-there broths -- the dark vegetarian stock is good to the last drop, too. (The secret? Charred lemon grass, ginger, dried mushrooms and more.) All five of the noodle soups are $10. “Great food should be available to everyone," explains the chef.