Yet another ramen joint opened its doors despite the increasing temperatures. With California origins, I expected top-quality from Jinya Ramen.
Go ahead and walk inside to see if there’s a long wait, spot at the bar or seat available at the communal table. Immediately upon walking in you’ll hear tons of noise. This place is loud.
Our waiter embodied a positive attitude and obvious love for the food since he praised everything I ordered. Although he didn’t know the alcohol menu well (probably underage), he did grab someone who did and I ordered a Sailor Moon.
Our appetizers took a noticeably long time to arrive. First came out a $4 JINYA Bun (bao), which we agreed tasted fine, but not great enough for us to pay upon a future visit. Next came the Brussels Sprouts Tempura in a small wooden box. You could smell the uniqueness from the truffle oil the chef fried it in. Our final appetizer, the Fried Pig Ears, came with a soft-boiled egg cracked half open. We mixed it amongst the meat and kale. I would order both of these starters again since there’s nothing else like them in DC.
At this point, Justin and I craved our ramen, yet envisioned the foreseen fullness from our meal. The waiter served my Cha Cha Cha tonkotsu noodle bowl while crushing fresh garlic and serving poached egg on the side. The thick broth tasted rich and I instantly knew I wouldn’t finish this since it also came with the thick set of noodles. The noodles are spectacular; go and try the thicker ones yourself. The refreshing taste of a Sailor Moon cocktail paired perfectly with the bowl. Justin’s Premium Tonkotsu White held Western notes since I immediately tasted almost all butter in the broth. Either way, he ate the entire bowl, including the thinner noodles, before reaching for my bowl. Most notable: the pork chashu. Jinya doesn’t skimp on the meat and there’s no better way for it to be cooked.
Now that I’ve criticized the food…
Throughout my entire meal, I felt uncomfortable while sitting at the communal table. My suggestion is to avoid it at all costs unless you have a party of four (and even then at maybe you should still wait for your own table). We sat so close to our surrounding parties that along with the restaurant’s high noise level, I could potentially drink someone else’s water, splatter them with broth or listen to any and all conversations. Justin and I barely talked through our whole meal since we could barely hear each other and once the volume of music turned up, we thought it was better to just text each other. A food runner even gave us our neighbor’s food on accident. In addition, there’s nowhere to place a purse or jacket. Where are the hooks? I would never place my valuables on the floor.
Let’s be fair, it’s day two of opening. The team is working to get those kinks out.
Despite me naturally snapping food pictures with my G5X, the manager said hi to both parties next to us (both American diners), but never acknowledged me and Justin. How is he able to check on some customers and not others?
Despite some discomfort and questions, the food is worthy of several visits, especially to try everything on the menu. Just make sure you grab a table or bar seat and place your valuables appropriately. 🙂
No dessert for us since we over ordered so many fried appetizers.
Although it’s Jinya Ramen’s second day of business, I’m excited to see whether or not the food and service will get worse or remain the same. For now, it’s definitely worth the return as they prepare to implement reservations in the future.
Jinya Ramen Bar is located on 2911 District Ave in Fairfax, VA.