Editors' pick

Toki Underground

$$$$ ($14 and under)

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.