Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Akira - There’s a New King of Ramen on The Pike

Akira Ramen & Izakaya
1800 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
Finally. A decent ramen joint on the pike. There are a bunch, but they are not of the same quality you're going to be treated to at Akira. These guys make their own noodles. No powdered stocks. They're doing the hard work and doing it well for the most part.
The picture above is their eponymous Akira Ramen with Tonkotsu broth. This is a fairly light and not too salty.
This is the Chashu Bun. A piece of pork belly on a steamed bun with some pickled veg and lettuce. Very tasty. 
The Akira Volcano Ramen...this is what I came for.
Spicy, rich, awesome. The chili oil floating on top of the Tonkotsu broth had enough heat to make me break a sweat, but it was perfect for the day. 
Nice touches abound in this little restaurant. 
The open kitchen provides you a nice view of what's going on. If it's one or two of you going I'd recommend sitting at the counter so you can enjoy the show.
The wok is flaming, and so are the torches for the pork.
They've got a bunch of cool tools here besides torches. The noodle dunkers you see on the left are automatically timed and the device not he right was kicking up steam and keeping the ramen bowls warm.
Did I mention the torches? This guy was having fun.

The Karaage deep fried chicken is presented with what I thought was going to be horseradish mustard but turned out to be a Sriracha aioli. Inventive!
The second time I went I got to try my friend's Tonkotsu Shoyu. It was a little sweeter than I like, but he enjoyed it.
I saw this coming out of the back kitchen and snapped a pick, but didn't get to try it. One of the chefs said it was pretty good, so I'll be trying this next time as well as the gyoza. They looked awesome. 
As a matter of fact, I think I'll work my way down the entire appetizer list so I can make sure I'm not missing anything else.
When you go, unless you're going off-peak you may have to wait. It's a popular place. It's definitely a hit.
Thanks for reading! If you go tell them you read about it on Pleasures of the Table.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Klaw - Big Things In Little Places

Temple Bar Neighborhood
5A Crown Alley, Dublin 2
Klaw is an inconspicuous little place, and I do mean little, in Dublin's Temple Bar neighborhood. It's a bohemian area full of shops, pubs, and some excellent food. 
I'd read about Klaw during my research of Dublin and decided it was a must-try.
It's got 12 seats and two tables. 
 It is a very casual spot. The door is hard to open and you're literally sitting back to back with the other people lucky enough to get a seat at a table. The picture above shows the customer art-work area above the other six stools. There are some creative folks running around that town.
What I didn't expect was the care taken with the seafood. It was among the best I've seen in a place like this. Gorgeous, manicured, with attention to detail.
 Here's a shot of the menu. No screwin' around. Minimalist, purposeful, goodness.
 My intrepid dining companion Brett is shown with his Colorado Cap waiting for our meal. The kitchen is behind him and the bathroom is just beyond. You have to walk the line to get to it.
 It was a late lunch so I didn't order anything other than the lobster roll. It had more mayo and herbs that I'm accustomed to in the US, but it was very good.
Lest I forget, the chefs were very friendly and happy to chat. His English was much better than my French, which was his native language, but we talked food and got along just fine.
In closing - if you're in Dublin, I would not skip this place. It's a little pricier than your average lunch spot, but seafood and care of this order don't come cheaply.
If you stop in, tell them you read about it on Pleasures of the Table!