Finding ourselves in an Asian lunch mood on a recent Sunday afternoon, we wandered into Jinya Ramen Bar, 1336 14th St. NW, just off Logan Circle. We sat down in sunny window seats and munched edamame while perusing the menu. The brightly illustrated bill of fare offers all kinds of Japanese-style noodles, dumplings, salads, mini tacos, salmon poke, and rice dishes. Among the latter, Tokyo curry rice is laced with lip-tingling ground chicken. There are also vegan selections and a kids meal (chicken tenders, rice, vanilla ice cream).
We finally decided on Tonkotsu Black, a generous bowl (big enough for two) swimming with savory pork broth, pork slices, green onion and dried seaweed, an egg floating on top. We found the flavors and textures similar to Vietnamese pho.
On the “small plates” listing, takoyaki (octopus balls) looked intriguing, and we were not disappointed. A half dozen artfully arranged, lightly battered cephalopod morsels were crowned with mayo, another spicy sauce and dusted with smoked bonita flakes. The tasty globes rested on a rectangular bed of “egg tartar.”
Jinya’s snazzy décor matches the exotic—even whimsical cuisine. The lively bar area and staircase are rimmed with lights; upstairs we found a sunny nook festooned with a huge mural and overlooking busy 14th street below.
About a year old, Logan Circle’s Jinya is part of a small chain with an offshoot in Fairfax and two in Atlanta. Open daily for lunch and dinner; call 202-588-8560 or visit www.jinya-ramendar.com.
Italian in Mount Vernon
Coming soon to Mount Vernon Triangle: Nicoletta Italian Kitchen. New York restaurateurs Michael White (chef) and Ahmass Fakahany aren’t finished opening restaurants in Washington. Five years have passed since the Altamarea Group owners unveiled Osteria Morini, in the Navy Yard. Now they are unveiling Nicoletta Italian Kitchen, a pizza and pasta-centric enterprise in late fall.
The Altamarea Group’s collection of the Big Apple’s Italian restaurants varies widely in price and vibe, ranging from the deluxe seafood spot Marea to the modest East Village pizzeria called Nicoletta. The Washington outpost will land somewhere in the middle, we’re told. While it takes its name from the New York pie shop, Nicoletta Italian Kitchen will produce much more than pizza, although there’ll be plenty of that.
Kudos to chef Ryan Ratino’s bistro-style Bresca and chef Robert Wiedmaier’s seafood palace Siren by RW. Both Logan Circle restaurants have earned one 2019 Michelin star. Bresca—Washington’s first fine dining venue to go carbon neutral–and Siren join 14 other local dining destinations holding one or more coveted Michelin stars. Published by the French tire company, Michelin’s Red Guide awards up to three stars to a select few establishments world-wide.
Music Fun in Shaw
Here’s something fun for “metal” music lovers: From now through Halloween (Oct. 31), Richmond-based heavy metal band GWAR will take over a space at the rotating Shaw pop-up, 1839 7th St. NW. (Previous pop-ups have channeled “Game of Thrones,” the recent royal wedding and Washington’s cherry blossoms.)
GWAR PUB will feature a 34-year retrospective of the band’s signature stage props and costumes, including a 20-foot World Maggot that has swallowed Jerry Springer (and featured in 90s cult classic Empire Records) and an intergalactic battle scene between the late front man and lead singer Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie) and Mr. Perfect. Other highlights include classic costumes, a hall of blood with an Instagrammable blood suit and a mobile of GWAR’s interplanetary journey. Limited-edition Oderus Eternal Tiki mugs and other GWAR-related memorabilia will be for sale.
GWAR is a Grammy-nominated heavy metal band formed in 1984 by a group of Virginia Commonwealth University art students in Richmond. A famous cult group, GWAR is best known for satirical messages and outrageous stage antics. The band has released 14 albums, 13 videos and created comic books, cartoons and an entire universe of monsters. GWAR PUB will be open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.and Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Guests must be 21 years or older.
Shaw Celeb Sighting
Also in Shaw: Yes, that was former first lady Michelle Obama chowing down with friends recently at San Lorenzo. The nifty Italian hot spot debuted this past summer at 1316 Ninth St. NW. San Lorenzo’s owner/chef is Massimo Fabbri, who previously wielded his whisk at another Obama fav, downtown’s Tosca.
Ivy City Smokehouse Market, 1356 Okie St. NE, is best known for its moderately priced seafood. We’re big fans of the Market’s smoked salmon “Indian candy” and smoked whitefish salad. (We also frequent its Smokehouse seafood restaurant upstairs.)
Therefore, we were presently surprised to discover the Market’s house- smoked bone-in pork ribs. Priced at $16.99 for a half rack, the ribs are encased in a sealed plastic bag. Simply boil for eight minutes. Voila! Ideal for tailgate parties. Ivy City Smokehouse is closed Monday; call 202-529-3300 or visit www.ivycitysmokehouse.com/market.