Daikaya (Washington)

On the ground floor of Daikaya sits their ramen bar – a few booths and communal tables where diners can enjoy a bowl of noodles, small eats, and a drink. A process that starts and ends in about 45 minutes.

Even as I was ordering the mugi-miso ramen ($14) I had a feeling I should just stick with the shio (where the soup is simply seasoned with salt). But, the description on the miso was so detailed heralding “savory aromatics” and reassured me that it would be “lighter than a traditional miso”. Surely, if I was only going to dine at Daikaya once, I’d have to sample their signature dish.

The first spoon of broth was good, it was certainly rich in flavours, but wasn’t oily like some ramen bases. Then, after a handful of sips, it became too salty… by the end, I simply ate the noodles and whatever soup clung to them. The noodles also could be better. At the beginning, it starts off chewy but really softens in ten minutes. They should consider plating them less cooked so that the springy bite continues throughout the meal. To combat the softer noodles, they could have also left the bean sprouts rawer, to add more crunch.

There’s plenty of meat in the bowl: slices of tender chashu and also ground pork strewn throughout so they end up working itself into the noodles. Bits of green onion and, strangely, white onion is added for a bit of freshness. Ramen just isn’t the same without a soft boiled egg, so it was added ($1.50) and at Daikaya arrives with the lovely lava-like orange molten centre.

The ramen was so substantial we really didn’t need the gyozas ($5.50), which incorporates a dark crust, thin wrapper, and plenty of filling. Sampling it after the salty broth does means the dumpling tastes rather bland.

I really need to, quite literally, trust my gut when ordering food. After hearing all the praise for Daikaya, it was a shame I may have ordered the wrong soup base that’s caused the experience to be less exceptional. At least we arrived early enough on Sunday to avoid the wait (11am for those who want to replicate). Always look on the bright side.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Washington, USA
 Address: 705 6th Street NW 

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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