By: Taylor Ardrey
Get your palette fully acquainted with delicious ramen from the spicy shoyu, miso or shio served in the portion of your choice, or enjoy some nibblings which includes ‘Pea-sar’ salad paired with some Japanese whisky. At Haikan, located on 805 V St.NW, foodies you can find authentic Sapporo Ramen cuisine.
Haikan has a very modern feel with lots of chatter buzzing from customers. The atmosphere is cozy, which makes it a perfect for an after-work meal and intimate enough for a date night. The main dining room includes multiple booths, which makes the restaurant group-friendly or one can sit alone at the bar. There is also an outside dining option. During the cold months, the restaurant provides an outdoor heater, so customers can still enjoy that option.
The menu is simplistic and gets straight to the point. Haikan provides a lunch and dinner menus. They also give customers the opportunity to pick from a vast option of Japanese Whisky, Shochu, cocktails, beer, wine and sake. However, the ramen is the main specialty.
There are multiple factors that go into making and serving Sapparo ramen at Haiken.”A company makes it for us, and ships once a week from Japan for us. It is made with a spring water as well as a special blend of flour with alkaline salt. It gets aged, as well, which gives it a specific type of flavor profile compared to other noodles that you’ll see around,” expressed Haikan general manager, Nicolas Seo.
Although Haikan is very modern, sticking to the traditions in their cuisine adds to the character of the restaurant. “Sappaoro style ramen is one of the traditional style ramen in Japan. It is characterized by simplicity as well as the noodles which are curly and springy in texture and our ‘chintan’ stock. It is a clear broth made with pork, beef, chicken bones and other vegetables and the soup bases that we use,” explained Seo. Therefore, for vegetarians, this may not be their go-to restaurant.
“I love Haikan because it’s new and it has a different take on ramen compared to other places. It has a modern vibe. My favorite thing to order is the Japanese deviled eggs because of the different take on it. I love the jalapeños and scallions. I would definitely recommend this restaurant,” said regular customer Ali Zaidi.
Along with the ramen there are an abundance of topping options, which include, but are not limited to, bata(butter), menma(bamboo),corn, spice bomb and nitamago(seasoned egg) for an additional cost. Each bowl of ramen comes with seaweed, chopsticks and a spoon.
Kozara, or “small plates” in Japanese can also be ordered. However, this is not the same thing as an appetizer in which many people mistake.”We have salads, squads, crab and fried dumplings that make up the small plates,” explained hostess Kaylin Young.
The cocktails served at Haikan are served and prepared by a special bar team. The bar team makes up cocktails every season. After seasonal tastings, the final drinks go on the menu. This process is what makes Haikan’s cocktails unique, because it is the creation of the bartenders. A raving favorite would be the Haranatsu Draft which includes vodka, guava, lemongrass and lime.
With the popularity and familiarity of ramen increasing in America, this comfort food is not going anywhere anytime soon.