You know a place is good (or hyped) when you have to make a reservation weeks in advance or show up right at opening in hopes of being seated right away. Toki Underground is surprisingly small. Chef Erik Bruner-Yang did quite a job designing the place and coming up with the menu. The place serves mainly authentic Taiwanese Ramen, not to be confused with your average cup of instant ramen. Service is great, the food is on one, the cocktails drinks are delightful. We ordered an “ALT + F5″ (dry gin, grapefruit/lemon juice, lemongrass syrup, angostura & orange bitters) and “Talk Derby to Me” (ginger bitters, bourbon & lemon juice). They [cocktails] come in mason jars keeping the whole eclectic vibe going. Bottom line, it’s worth checking out if you happen to be in the neighborhood when it opens or around closing time.
Upon entering the joint , you go through standard restaurant routine and eventually get a table. We sat at the kitchen bar and watched the chef & his staff in full action. The staff is very knowledgeable of the menu and will answer any questions you have regarding ingredients and taste.
We started with “Fried Chicken Steamed Buns.” Presentation was everything; it came with four buns, some chicken and condiments on the side. You basically made your own little sandwich. The bun were as soft and as delicious as they looked. Definitely added to the whole Taiwanese experience. The main course was, of course, ramen. We tried the “Tapei Curry Chicken,” a curry infusion of fried chicken, greens, egg and pickled ginger. The broth was delicious, seasoned just well enough. If you like it spicy, you can always add the endorphine sauce. As for the ramen noodles, they were good, overshadowed by the greens and chicken in the broth.
If the wait to dine in is too long, you can always take out or get it delivered to you via Caviar for a chill $9.99 delivery fee.
Food score 8
Service score 7
Design score 7
X-Factor score 9