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Reren Lamen, Ramen in the Former Mehak Space on 7th Street in Chinatown


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Went there yesterday based on a recommendation my wife forwarded from dcfud.com blog.  It was after 1:20 or so and the place was fairly empty.  Ordered pork dumplings and Reren Signature Lamen, my lunch partner had Kung-Fu Noodles. Noodles were good but I felt the taste was more Chinese than Japanese - but I'm no expert there.  My Signature Lamen was sort of creamy and had things like boc choy in it, which makes it less desirable in my book.  I would go to Daikaya before this one but would use Reren Lamem if the wait was too long for Daikaya.  So basically my openion is its nice to have it as a backup, but it would not be my first choice to bring additional people to...

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On June 24, 2016 at 10:42 PM, DonRocks said:

Are we still in the soft-opening phase, or has Reren Lamen officially opened?

The sign on the street said grand opening so it's past the soft opening. Also looked like they were doing an ok volume of take out. 

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2 hours ago, jasonc said:

it's probably a chinese restaurant.  Lamian is just the Chinese pronunciation of ramen - "pulled noodles" as you know.

Matt's maternal grandmother is Okinawan - I used to amuse myself endlessly trying to get her to pronounce "rural" (it sounded like "lularl").

In a similar vein, Karen's mom Thérèse used to amuse herself endlessly trying to get me to pronounce "locksmith" in French ("serrurerie") - that's the single most difficult word I know of to pronounce in French: You have to close your throat *three times* in short order for the r's, *and* somehow fit in the terribly difficult "u" sound. It sounded like I was trying to expectorate sputum.

See? It isn't just native Asians trying to speak English!

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I visited on Friday with my husband. I loved that I could make a reservation on their website. I thought that they were well organized and that the service was very good. 

We tried the pork dumplings, soup dumplings, the signature lamen and the dan dan noodles. The pork dumpling is particularly good - the wrappers were nice and thin and the filling was savory and rich. The soup dumplings were good. The best I've had are in Chinatown in NY so it's nice to have a good one available locally. The house made noodles are great.I liked their chewiness. The signature lamen had a great broth with a nice smokiness from 5 spice powder. The dan dan noodles were very spicy but so good that I kept eating through the burn. 

Overall, I welcome the addition of another noodle house in the DC area. I think my favorite broth right now is Bantam King's chaitan but it's nice to have all of this variety. I will definitely be back. 

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The signature lamen has what tasted to me like a mild chicken broth.  It's more Chinese food than Japanese (but has elements of both).  Chinese - bok choy, red braised pork belly, and a mild broth.  Japanese - egg with soft yolk, nori, picked ginger, ramen style noodles.  I took out the pickled gingers - why they were added in a noodle soup was beyond me.  Personally, I probably wouldn't order this again. 

I also had their scallion pancake with beef wrap.  The beef was cold, would've been better if warmed.  It's greasy, but tasty.

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I tried the "kung fu noodles," i.e., spicy, today (from website: "Broth stew beef shanks, tea egg, scallion and season greens").  We have reached the enviable point in DC where a very good spicy bowl of noodle soup, with some good fresh greens and a tea egg in it, is just nothing to write home about. And it was good!  But the noodles, at least in this dish on this day, were basically no more interesting (in texture or otherwise) than slightly overdone spaghetti.  And the broth, though good, had no particularly depth or interesting taste other than spiciness.  Also - and I get the sense that this is probably intentional, from reading the Carman article above - it is lighter, less pleasantly fatty, than the ramen one gets around town these days. 

Bottom line: if you want a good bowl of spicy noodle soup that won't leave your lips too greasy, and you don't want a hipster rock and roll open-kitchen stylish feeling while you eat it, check it out!

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BLUF:  Sheldman's review from 2016 still stands. 

I sought soup as antidote to our day-long rain.  Walking into Reren, I realized a million other people had the same bright idea.  I was lucky to get a seat at the communal high top in the back. (Which is my favorite way to dine solo, by the way. #Extrover-table) 

Honey Ginger Tea ($4) is a must-try, properly hot and offering remarkable complement to most menu flavors.  Wait for the sliced shards to fully settle, lest you get a mouth full of astringency (been there, winced that).

Reren Signature Lamen ($11) boasted remarkably fresh, mild baby bok choy.  Pork belly and egg texture experienced as others have noted, almost too soft without a lot of strong anything.  Subtle is the aim here, and based on the crowds, a winning formula.

As the second course, the Buns Sandwich (2 for $7) was gone in 60 seconds.  Definitely worth a return visit.  Although the same pork belly mutes into the background in the lamen, the vegetables, pickles, and properly spiced mayo of the sandwich make this ingredient infinitely inhalable.  See the clever little plastic bowl in the picture---visually indistinguishable from ceramic.

Service had a few missteps, negated by the friendliness of the staff.  An adjacent table received a duplicate order, unclear if it was a server or kitchen mistake.  The standard practice of no bar napkins with iced water translates into leaky table syndrome.  It's better for the environment, I get it, and perhaps I am just overly sensitive to preventable messes after years chasing a small child. 

Make sure you try the citrus candy arriving with your check, astonishingly refreshing.  But do not taunt happy fun ball and do not sip the honey ginger tea while having the candy--it goes from brightly pleasing to please make it stop.

I'll be dreaming about those bao bun sandwiches.

1HoneyGingerTea.jpg

2Lamen.jpg

3Baobun.jpg

4Iwantcandy.jpg

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