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Bantam King, Daikaya's Sibling Chicken Ramen Shop Featuring (Bantam?) Chicken Ramen - 5th and G Street in Penn Quarter


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30 minutes ago, DaRiv18 said:

Daikaya's sister chicken ramen shop, whose name escapes me now, opens next week I understand too. 

I believe the name is going to be Bantam King. It's a play on Burger King, which was the previous occupant. Bantam is a type of chicken.  

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34 minutes ago, DaRiv18 said:

Daikaya's sister chicken ramen shop, whose name escapes me now, opens next week I understand too. 

Just in time for the scorching heat! I'm still excited to try the new place though.

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I just walked by Bantam, still a lot of paper covering the windows. I'll take a few photos when I bike home. 

Would be kind of surprised if they opened next week, but I did see someone come out of the entrance when I was at a crosswalk

Hopefully they open next week!

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We went on Saturday around 6 and were pleasantly surprised to find no wait whatsoever. The setting is bright and lively, service was excellent, and the ramen was out of this world.

We took Marty's advice and got a bowl of shio chintan to split. Slurped up every last drop of broth and every last noodle. Highly recommended.

The fried chicken with fixings, honestly, was disappointing. The chicken itself was good -- a breast, leg, and thigh all nicely crispy on the outside, moist on the inside -- but there wasn't one of the fixings I was tempted to finish. Granted, we were pretty full from the ramen and a late lunch, but I expected better. Biscuits were cute and satisfactory, but the mac and cheese was too cheesy (yes, I was also surprised to find that was even possible, but especially when the dish is not hot and the cheese is congealing, it's true), the potatoes with gravy were too good a facsimile of that nearly-liquid KFC-style puree, and the corn on the cob was wet and tough (granted, I am from Iowa and a fiercer-than-average corn critic). Can't opine personally on the cole slaw though my dining companion said it was in line with the other fixings.

So would we go back? Absolutely, in a heartbeat, assuming we could get in again once the crowds discover the place. Just not for the chicken dinner.

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3 hours ago, jm chen said:

We went on Saturday around 6 and were pleasantly surprised to find no wait whatsoever. The setting is bright and lively, service was excellent, and the ramen was out of this world.

We took Marty's advice and got a bowl of shio chintan to split. Slurped up every last drop of broth and every last noodle. Highly recommended.

The fried chicken with fixings, honestly, was disappointing. The chicken itself was good -- a breast, leg, and thigh all nicely crispy on the outside, moist on the inside -- but there wasn't one of the fixings I was tempted to finish. Granted, we were pretty full from the ramen and a late lunch, but I expected better. Biscuits were cute and satisfactory, but the mac and cheese was too cheesy (yes, I was also surprised to find that was even possible, but especially when the dish is not hot and the cheese is congealing, it's true), the potatoes with gravy were too good a facsimile of that nearly-liquid KFC-style puree, and the corn on the cob was wet and tough (granted, I am from Iowa and a fiercer-than-average corn critic). Can't opine personally on the cole slaw though my dining companion said it was in line with the other fixings.

So would we go back? Absolutely, in a heartbeat, assuming we could get in again once the crowds discover the place. Just not for the chicken dinner.

I've heard from a bunch of folks that the fried chicken is not remotely worth $24.  But that the veggie ramen is also fantastic . . . 

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Open for lunch!  The Shio Chintan is boss.  I prefer the stock here to the Daikaya (or any other ramen spot, really) pork-based stock.  The actual noodles, I prefer Daikaya's more.  The eggs are also both really good, I recommend adding them on.  

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I had lunch at Bantam today.  Very friendly service.  I got the shoyu stock I think, it was nice (but I prefer the Source's chicken soup more, albeit not technically ramen).  Star of the show were the chicken dumplings, very flavorful, I highly recommend them.

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Have been excited about this place ever since they started talking about months and months ago. So had to take advantage of the opportunity to head over lunch.

Got there about 11:50 and it was practically empty. 10 minutes later by noon it was nearly full.

Opted for shio chintan and it was beautiful. So clean and simple.

My one criticism is the broccoli rabe. Love that it comes with this. I love broccoli rabe, but it was a little awkward to eat given its size and texture. Love that menma is standard since that's my goto add-on at most places. This is different from Daikaya's as you might imagine. Daikaya without a doubt has my favorite version - deeply seasoned and rich. BK's was lighter and sweeter most likely because they're each braised in their respective stocks. Still very good, though. One last observation - the nitimago didn't seem to have spent any time in a marinade. All-in-all a lovely bowl.

This is summertime ramen if there ever were such a thing. 

Looking forward to trying the paitan when I get a chance.

Oh, lastly, the space is great and much roomier than Daikaya.

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Whenever I am asked for ramen recommendations in DC, I respond (half-jokingly): if you want to start a bar fight in DC,ask within earshot of three people where to find the best ramen. Sit back and watch chaos unfold. Now, with the opening of Bantam King, there's a new voice in this ongoing dialogue.  Daikaya is one of my go-to DC ramen spots, so my expectations for Bantam King were high.

I was joined this evening by a friend who had just returned from a month long trip abroad and was eager to get back into exploring the DC scene. We got there at opening time, hoping to avoid crowds and to get a taste of the chintan broth before they ran out of their limited supply. The walls are decorated with serving trays, no dobut an hommage to its past as a Burger King restaurant. There is one tray beside the kitchen facing the dining room that informs diners how many bowls of chintan broth are left.

The first dish to arrive was the rice with chicken drippings, butter, and soy sauce. The presentation was elegant, served in what appeared to be a Cloud Terre designed bowl. I liked the rice, though I can't say I noticed any chicken flavor from the drippings. Because the bowl was small, it was a bit cumbersome to stir the rice (to ensure an even distribution of the soy sauce and butter) without spilling it.

Next to arrive were the goyza sui. I've always been a fan of the pork dumplings at Daikaya, and these are just as good, if not better. There's just enough chili oil to add some heat without being overbearing.

Before I could even clasp the first dumpling between my chopsticks, the fried chicken dinner was brought to the table. This was the dish about which I was most curious, having read the mixed reviews. Biting through the crispy skin to get to the juicy flesh was a pleasurable experience. If fact, my friend and I liked the chicken so much, we wondered if the had been modifications to the recipe in response to the reviews. More problematic were the fixings that accompanied the chicken, which ranged from serviceable to awful.

The macaroni and cheese has been one of the most criticized of the fixings, but it was the one I enjoyed most. The coleslaw was neither here nor there. The mashed potates were so bad, the kitchen should feel embarrassed to send them out to unsuspecting diners. They belong on the cafeteria menu of a dention center.

The biscuits were passable, but I found ways to improve upon them. Some of the bites I would spread with the strawberry preserves and eat along with the chicken for a salty/sweet/crunchy effect. Other bites I would dip into the delicious chili oil laced dumpling broth.

Mostly satisfied with the fried chicken, it was now time to move onto the ramen. My friend ordered the shio tori chintan. I ordered shoyu tori paitan so that we could get a good representation of both broths. After tasting my friend's ramen, and allowing him to sample mind, we agreed that while each broth was respectable, we felt a little underwhelmed. I took a moment to ponder my  indifference, and I concluded that it came down to a matter of personal taste. I prefer the strong, rich flavors of Sapporo-style tonkotsu ramen. For those in search of something less intense, Bantam King may be what you're looking for.

Our meal was coming to an end and I felt something cold and refreshing would be an appropriate finale. There are no desserts listed on the menu, so I was hoping they would reveal that there was a soft serve machine hidden in the kitchen. No such luck. We were offered a matcha tea cheesecake as the sole dessert option. I appreciate desserts that show enough nuance that sugar is not used as a crutch. This dessert fit the bill. Bantam King won't win any prizes for pastry program of the year, but it was a satisfying way to end a heavy meal.

Overall, the great service couldn't make up for a meal that was inconsistent. I don't think I'll return to Bantam King anytime soon. Unless someone offers to split the fried chicken dinner.

I am looking forward to the opening of Haikan. Sapporo-style ramen is more to my liking and I read that Fukushima may eventually offer a degustation menu, though he hasn't said at which restaurant. minibar meets omakase maybe? I'm hoping it comes to Haikan.

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On 7/1/2016 at 3:08 PM, CapitalGourmand said:

After tasting my friend's ramen, and allowing him to sample mind, we agreed that while each broth was respectable, we felt a little underwhelmed. I took a moment to ponder my  indifference, and I concluded that it came down to a matter of personal taste. I prefer the strong, rich flavors of Sapporo-style tonkotsu ramen. For those in search of something less intense, Bantam King may be what you're looking for.

Overall, the great service couldn't make up for a meal that was inconsistent. I don't think I'll return to Bantam King anytime soon.

Absolutely agree with this. Though I can think of multiple broths I enjoy more, I've long championed Daikaya's noodles. I also had the shio chintan at Bantam King - I found the broth to be great for what it was: a more distilled, amped-up chicken noodle soup. That said, I still strongly prefer the more assertive-style broths. I also found the noodles to be overcooked, the broccolini to be cumbersome and superfluous, and the toppings scattered haphazardly on the bowl. I'd come back just because I love ramen (and to try the paitan), but to me personally, this isn't one of the best bowls in town.

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Over the weekend a friend and I stopped by Bantam King after a movie at E Street.  There seemed to be a line out the door at Daikaya but several empty seats at Bantam King around the corner.  We shared the chicken gyoza, I had the miso paitan ramen with an egg and my friend had the shio chintan.  it turns out the "chili oil" served with the dumplings is actually butter and chili (and possibly chicken drippings?).  I dumped the leftover sauce in my ramen and got a knowing smile from the server.  The miso paitan broth was rich, savory, and not too salty.  As others have commented, the shio chintan was more delicate but also full of great chicken flavor.  My friend added corn, which seemed to overpower the broth once it was sitting for a while.  Overall it was a great experience and I'll definitely be back... even in the heat of summer.

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On 7/1/2016 at 3:08 PM, CapitalGourmand said:

After tasting my friend's ramen, and allowing him to sample mind, we agreed that while each broth was respectable, we felt a little underwhelmed. I took a moment to ponder my  indifference, and I concluded that it came down to a matter of personal taste. I prefer the strong, rich flavors of Sapporo-style tonkotsu ramen. For those in search of something less intense, Bantam King may be what you're looking for.

Just to note that tonkotsu style is from Fukuoka/Hakata, in Kyushu, opposite end of the country from Sapporo which is typically either shoyu or miso style broth. 

My wife's family lives in Fukuoka and my father grew up in Hokkaido, where Sapporo is, though he was several hours from Sapporo.

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5 hours ago, dinoue said:

Just to note that tonkotsu style is from Fukuoka/Hakata, in Kyushu, opposite end of the country from Sapporo which is typically either shoyu or miso style broth. 

My wife's family lives in Fukuoka and my father grew up in Hokkaido, where Sapporo is, though he was several hours from Sapporo.

Thanks for the clarification!

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Shio Chintan is probably the only soup for dinner I'd ever crave in DC in August. Perfectly seasoned, not heavy, but not thin either.  Not directly comparable with pork-based offerings of say Toki, Ippudo, etc but every bit as satisfying.  Fun decor, nothing pretentious nor does it try not to be pretentious.  I added nothing but the chicken quarter ($3.50), the broccolini, leak and egg that comes "standard" adding weight, color and textural interest necessary when making a meal of soup.  Washed down with a $5 Sapporo draft.  Maybe only about 10 oz in the glass but still a good price for the neighborhood and brightens up the salty ramen perfectly.

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29 minutes ago, yeah said:

Shio Chintan is probably the only soup for dinner I'd ever crave in DC in August. Perfectly seasoned, not heavy, but not thin either.  Not directly comparable with pork-based offerings of say Toki, Ippudo, etc but every bit as satisfying.  Fun decor, nothing pretentious nor does it try not to be pretentious.  I added nothing but the chicken quarter ($3.50), the broccolini, leak and egg that comes "standard" adding weight, color and textural interest necessary when making a meal of soup.  Washed down with a $5 Sapporo draft.  Maybe only about 10 oz in the glass but still a good price for the neighborhood and brightens up the salty ramen perfectly.

This was a great post, yeah. Welcome!

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Yesterday lunch here!  This is my new standard for DC soul food, even though I am quite over the fried chicken revival. There is a new menu, with bigger font. 

Shio chintan, of course. Next time I will order without ramen and just enjoy this deliciousness. No more brocolini, it now features dandelion greens and chili threads. A nice bitter and spicy counterpoint to the buttery sweetness of the stock. I now like to order with an extra nitamago. I once got the roasted chicken add-on but a bit awkward. 

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Stopped by today for lunch and unexpectedly ordered the fried chicken plate ($12) featuring a new recipe. A quarter chicken (choose white or dark, and I like the latter) brined for 12 hours and served with a soy honey dashi glaze (I think).  The sides are Japanese-ish, miso soup (with potato no tofu), rice with chicken drippings and scallions, and a slaw garnish. 

I am a bit tired of fried chicken around town, but I found no fault with this one.  I did like the actual chicken, both the taste and the mouthfeel which often fall short for me.  The glaze reduces the crunch somewhat but the taste is worth it.  Like I said, I am no real fried chicken guy outside of Korean style but this is distinctive and well worth trying.

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I also had the fried chicken for lunch yesterday, it was very very good.  I chose the white meat, and the meat was juicy.  Loved the sauce, and the skin remained somewhat crispy despite that sauce.  The chicken seemed partially de-boned, which I appreciated.  I enjoyed the miso soup (very complex for a soup of that type), and the cabbage was a nice garnish for the plate.  The rice was a bit of a disappointment, perhaps had too much butter in it, but I enjoyed it more when I put it on my plate to mix with the chicken sauce instead of eating it separately from its bowl. 

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With very few food trucks out today and none of them sounding appealing, I decided to try out the fried chicken plate from Bantam King for lunch.  I got mine to go and was pleasantly surprised with how crispy the chicken was when I got back to the office ten minutes later despite having the sauce drizzled on top.  The piece of chicken was enormous and along with the tofu soup and chicken drippings rice made a great lunch.  Will definitely be back for more.

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On 10/24/2016 at 2:11 PM, MichaelBDC said:

With very few food trucks out today and none of them sounding appealing, I decided to try out the fried chicken plate from Bantam King for lunch.  I got mine to go and was pleasantly surprised with how crispy the chicken was when I got back to the office ten minutes later despite having the sauce drizzled on top.  The piece of chicken was enormous and along with the tofu soup and chicken drippings rice made a great lunch.  Will definitely be back for more.

We visited for the first time recently and really enjoyed ourselves, but I'm kicking myself for not ordering the fried chicken. Next time!

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On 8/10/2016 at 11:32 AM, DPop said:

Does anyone know if they do takeout?

So they do take out, but you'll need a microwave.   Two containers:  one for soup, the other for the noodles/other ingredients. Instructions for heating are stapled to the carryout bag:

Microwave the the soup for three minutes.  Pour into the noodles container.  Microwave the entire thing for one minute. 

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So, at the risk of sounding unadventurous, ever since they stopped offering the Shio Chintan in favor of the Shoya Chintan, my favorite broth has been the plain Miso.  Sometimes they can go heavy on the Miso, eh.  But sometimes there is this perfect blend of buttery chicken stock and the sweet miso.  It is my favorite chicken noodle soup in town right now, on cold days.  

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2 hours ago, DaRiv18 said:

So, at the risk of sounding unadventurous, ever since they stopped offering the Shio Chintan in favor of the Shoya Chintan, . . .   

They still have the Shio Chintan (or did a couple of weeks ago; it's just not on the menu . . . 

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On 12/9/2016 at 2:47 PM, Marty L. said:

They still have the Shio Chintan (or did a couple of weeks ago; it's just not on the menu . . . 

Had lunch/brunch today and the Sunday brunch menu has a kids ramen (waiter wasn't even aware there was such an item) which seems to be a shio chintan broth. Tasted the kids' soup and it was a good chicken soup taste. I had the shoyu chintan and drank every last bit of soup. Egg was perfect with a nice runny yolk. Sui gyoza were a little disappointing as they were not quite hot when they came out. Perhaps I am too accustomed to steamed dumplings at dim sum places which are still piping hot from the steam cart. 

Waiter also noted that although no longer on the menu, vegetarian is still available.

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My wife and I went the other night and we fell on the side of being unimpressed by the experience.  

We started with an order of the Gyoza, which tends to be a hard dish to screw up in my experience, but somehow Bantam King missed big time.  The gyoza were soft and a bit mushy in my chopsticks, which surprised me as I'm used to these having a bit harder shell due to the pan frying prior to service.  These desperately needed that crunch, they were very one-note with regards to both texture and flavor.  The chili oil/butter swimming pool that they rested in did not work at all for me either, I don't know if the oil had somehow gone bad, but the flavor was simultaneously greasy and acrid. 4 gyoza came in this order, and 2 were left on the plate.

I got the Fried Chicken for my main and again, I must have gotten a bad order of this, because my chicken didn't resemble in appearance or description what I read above.  One bite into the thigh and all of the breading came immediately off of the chicken, a soggy mess doused in the soy honey dashi glaze mixture that I found totally unecessary.  The dark meat inside the chicken was moist and carried flavor, but I was totally thrown by the breading debacle.  The side of rice with chicken drippings was fine, but I agree witht the poster above that I could not detect any of the chicken drippings and it was impossible to stir the bowl up to see if I could get anything off of the bottom.  The star of this dish was the very nice miso soup, which worked well for my palate as compared to more traditional miso soups.

My wife went with the Shio Chintan Ramen, which was by far the best dish of the night, but still left us wanting a little.  We had been the Toki and Haikan in the past month, and the broth in the Bantam ramen just can't stand up in any way in terms of richness, complexity, and consistency to what is on offer at both of those places.

We will occasionally catch movies at the Verizon Center (has anyone seen La La Land?), and this will be a nice, quick cheap stop-in for ramen in the cold months, but I don't see us becoming regulars here any time soon.

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2 hours ago, DPop said:

My wife and I went the other night and we fell on the side of being unimpressed by the experience.  

We started with an order of the Gyoza, which tends to be a hard dish to screw up in my experience, but somehow Bantam King missed big time.  The gyoza were soft and a bit mushy in my chopsticks, which surprised me as I'm used to these having a bit harder shell due to the pan frying prior to service.  These desperately needed that crunch, they were very one-note with regards to both texture and flavor.  The chili oil/butter swimming pool that they rested in did not work at all for me either, I don't know if the oil had somehow gone bad, but the flavor was simultaneously greasy and acrid. 4 gyoza came in this order, and 2 were left on the plate.

Sui gyoza is a different style from pan fried gyoza. They are boiled. Sui means water.

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I have commented several times about how fried chicken is high on my personal trite food list, but for the Fourth of July I had a hankering for nothing else.  Stopped by here for lunch and the $10 fried chicken plate, dark meat.  This featured Asian spices mixed into the batter, it was nice and spicy, and skin crisp enough to rival Korean-fried style.  No sauce, as one of my previous reviews noted.  

Daikaya/Bantam King like to mix up their styles on staple dishes enough to keep it interesting.  I won't order fried chicken enough to keep these updates relevant at any given time, but just wanted to alert the community that you might expect new twists when ordering this dish.  

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In lieu of drinks, my friend asked me if I wanted to join him and his wife for a class at Flywheel followed by dinner nearby. I regretted agreeing to that invite about 20 minutes into the Flywheel class but felt better about it after sitting down at Bantam King. 

We started with some cold sake, and my friends ordered beer while I had the cold watermelon drink on draft. The watermelon drink was very refreshing and I had to be careful not to drink it too quickly. We also enjoyed the hakushika tanuki sake that we ordered and ended up getting a second one.

Feeling very hungry after the spin class, we ordered the chicken gyoza and fried chicken. Both were great. I especially enjoyed the fried chicken. Not too hot, but expertly fried. I ordered the shoyu chintan ramen with a spice bomb. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would, and specially liked the inclusion of corn as part of the toppings. The stock was light, but still very flavorful and the spice bomb added a great kick. My friend ordered and loved his spicy miso ramen and his wife ordered the special chicken chorizo cold ramen. She really liked it as well, but I did not get a taste. 

I hadn't been to Bantam King since they first opened and had liked it only so so but preferred Daikaya. After last night's visit, I would be more than happy to go to Bantam King over Daikaya depending on my mood.

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I thought the fried chicken (dark meat) was excellent (but not particularly spicy), although I don't know why it's served on top of white bread and with rice (wasted).  I also had the spicy miso ramen...it is indeed spicy, and quite salty as well, but flavorful.  The combination is giving me heartburn hours after lunch though....

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18 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

 although I don't know why it's served on top of white bread and with rice (wasted).

Maketto serves their fried chicken on top of white bread, too.  Is this an Asian thang?  I think they do it so the juices don't go to waste, my guess.

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