Restaurant: Haikan, 805 V St. NW. 202-299-1000.
Description: No-reservations ramen joint.
Ambiance: Stylish but streamlined hangout.
Owners: Daisuke Utagawa, Katsuya Fukushima, Yama Jewayni.
Chef: Katsuya Fukushima.
Hours: Beginning Saturday for dinner daily; lunch and brunch to follow.
There are about 1,000 ramen shops in the Japanese city of Sapporo alone, so when Daisuke Utagawa, Katsuya Fukushima and Yama Jewayni decided they wanted to open another Sapporo-style shop to follow the three-year-old Daikaya, the team wasn't worried about being repetitive. (In June, the trio opened a second ramen shop, Bantam King, which is devoted to chicken ramen, a style that isn't inherent to any particular region.)
As at Daikaya, chef Fukushima has developed ramen with tare, or bases, of shoyu (dark soy sauce), shio (salt) and miso (fermented soy bean paste). The noodles are the same as Daikaya's, as is the technique of wok-frying toppings. The twists: The shio's delicate hint of seafood; the shoyu's light, citrus-like freshness; and the miso's gentle, nutty flavor of sesame seeds. "The soup tastes different," Utagawa said.
Additionally, the menu will feature a variety of kozara, essentially small plates labeled as "nibblings." Options include a pea Caesar ("pea-sar") salad, mapo tofu poutine, crab rangoon and smashed cucumber salad. With tradition largely dictating the ramen, Fukushima will get to play around more with the kozara, Utagawa said.
For dessert, there will be King's anpan (King's Hawaiian bread with sweet red bean paste and butter) and kakigori (Japanese shaved ice).
Like its siblings, Haikan won't take reservations. "No ramen shop in Japan takes reservations," Utagawa said.
Lead bartender Daniel Pouridas has developed cocktails inspired by Japan. A gin-based cocktail will include muddled fresh snow peas and wasabi, plus yuzu, a type of Japanese citrus. The house Old Fashioned features mirin and Iwai Japanese whisky, and a dry martini on the rocks highlights shochu from Okinawa, where Fukushima was born, along with a black pepper tincture -- oh, and a flaming piece of cedar.
Draft selections include a shochu "san-gu-ria," cider and Sapporo beer. There will also be cans and bottles of other Japanese beers, as well as sake and shochu.
The co-owners have teamed up again with Brian Miller of EditLab at Streetsense for the design. Miller said he was inspired by two architectural movements: Metabolism in Japan and Brutalism in Washington. Buildings from both movements are disappearing, and Miller said he wanted to pay homage to them. "You don't want to lose your history," he said.
The 2,100-square-foot space features a coffered ceiling, brightly colored tiles and a ramen cooking area facing a 20-foot glass door that opens to the patio. Haikan seats 59 inside and an additional 40 outside.