Slurp, slurp

JINYA Pike & Rose opens today in North Bethesda, making it that much easier for Marylanders to enjoy a warm bowl of Japanese noodle soup. Last night, I attended the preview opening party where waiters passed salmon poke and spicy tuna tacos, tempura brussel sprouts, takoyaki balls, pork gyoza and crispy chicken. JINYA served mini-sized ramen bowls, so that guests could taste all three different broths: Spicy Creamy Vegan, Tonkotsu Black and Chicken.

Upon my arrival, the friendliest bartenders served two cocktails: Garden of Todai, a modern take on a margarita, and the Temple of Love, a contemporary rendition of a classic Manhattan. I snagged a high-top seat by the large windows (natural lighting is everything!), which turned out to be the perfect spot to grab appetizers and chat with the party next to me.

As someone who enjoys a solid bowl of miso ramen, I was excited by the opportunity to try all three noodle soups. When else would I ever have the opportunity to order a vegan bowl? Surprisingly this dish turned out to be one of my favorite bowls of ramen to date. I deemed it a vegan eater’s dream because of its equivalency to a porky flavored bowl. In a world where an increasing number of people decide to pursue a vegan lifestyle, there’s increased competition for the best food and JINYA comes as a top contender.

While I didn’t care too much for the chicken ramen out of personal preference, my sister Jenna enjoyed it with a hint of spice tossed in. She deemed it delicious, while I nibbled on a few bites before pushing it away. When it comes to the tonkotsu ramen, however, it went missing after three minutes. The porky flavor consumes you without enduring an over-the-top richness. After all, this is the restaurant chain’s speciality as the chef simmers it for more than 18 hours to achieve a full flavor.

Hopefully Marylanders won’t be lining up for hours as Virginians did for the Mosaic District opening. To be fair, the first 100 people to visit JINYA today earn a free bowl of ramen. Doesn’t that mean a line is inevitable? There’s no better way to kick off a grand opening than with high demand for noodles, even in this summer heat.

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JINYA Ramen Bar Pike & Rose is located at 910 Prose Street, North Bethesda, MD.

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