“We want it to be crazier than a regular ramen shop,” Kaiju Ramen owner Edward Wong says. He’s about a month away from opening his two-floor business at 525 8th St. SE on Barracks Row. “We have ramen from regular Tokyo style for $15 all the way up to a wagyu ramen, which is $80. We’re trying to change up the game.”
If you’re not a turf person but still want to detonate your noodle budget, surf fans can order lobster ramen. Another bowl you won’t find around town is ramen topped with a mound of freshly grated cheese that looks like a snow-covered mountain. The phenomenon exists in Japan, but it’s uncommon.
Kaiju Ramen is Wong’s first restaurant in D.C. proper. He’s behind two Akira Ramen & Izakaya locations in Maryland and Gyu Shige serving Japanese barbecue (yakiniku) in Northern Virginia’s Mosaic District.
Like Akira Ramen, the noodles Kaiju will use are all made in house. The $80 wagyu ramen comes with about 6 oz. of beef. Other ramen bowls start at $15 and include tonkotsu ramen, veggie tomato ramen, shoyu ramen, and spicy chicken ramen.
Wong tapped Chef Junzo Miyajima from Saitama, Japan, to lead the kitchen. He once worked at En Japanese Brasserie in New York. Kaiju Ramen will be less buttoned-up. Kaiju means giant monster in Japanese, after all. Think King Kong, Godzilla, Mothra, and all their monster pals.
“A lot of the appetizers, we placed them to look like a kaiju, a monster from one of those movies, Wong says. “We match the dish with the monster to show people.” Look for small dishes from Miyajima such as an octopus corn dog that has the stylings of takoyaki, bone marrow, salmon seaweed salad, fried soft shell crab, and karaage-like chicken tenders coated in rice cracker crumbs.
An enormous mural of a swimming Godzilla graces the walls of the first floor dining room with about 70 seats. The 30-seat basement bar will be an otaku haven with its anime theme. Outdoor seating can be found at the back of the restaurant. Kaiju Ramen will have a full bar with a focus on sake.
When it opens this fall, the hours will be Mondays through Thursdays from noon to 10 p.m., noon to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Walk-in customers only.
Kaiju Ramen, 525 8th St. SE; kaijuramen.us