Maketto: Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

Maketto is getting wedding anniversary level love lately. The Post’s Tom Sietsema penned a rare glowing review and Eater named it one of the best new restaurants in America. Given these fireworks, you’re likely headed there soon.

It’s easy to get distracted at the H Street spot that exudes cool. Should you drink coffee or booze? Should you buy those condoms out of the vending machine? Should you sit inside or outside? Upstairs or downstairs? Should you pick up that gun powder scented candle for your dude friend? These questions about Maketto deserve answers, but your focus should remain on the food because it lacks the watered-down effect some Southeast Asian eateries suffer from.

Sure, the bap buns are fantastic. In fact, Chef Erik Bruner-Yang is so well known for his buns that they pretty much double as his business cards. But, they’re not the Best Thing on the Menu. That honor is reserved for the fried chicken. Giant cutlets come in a sticky bath that should be illegal, especially when served with warm (seemingly fried) bread designed to lap it all up. The portion size is as generous as a grandparent during Christmas and the kick comes from chillies and fried shallots.

Mala Colada

If heat is your thing, pair the fried chicken with a Mala Colada. The tropical beverage carries a welcome Tabasco-level of spiciness. Not into alcohol? There’s more to the beverage program at Maketto, including sipping vinegars and cool flavors of kombucha.

Fried chicken not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Maketto is located at 1351 H Street N.E.

Toki Underground: Kimchi Ramen

Toki Underground

Korea and Japan play nice inside of this bowl… real nice. Traditional ramen is elevated and enhanced by the distinct flavor of kimichi in Toki Underground’s Best Thing on the Menu: Kimchi Ramen. Their other flavors are top of the line too, especially the homey and comforting red miso or the subtly sweet (never spicy) curry. But those who like heat, and a little bit of funk, should go with our pick for BTM.

Each piping hot bowl at Toki Underground is adorned with a crisp sheet of nori, breath-busting green onion, incredibly tender pulled pork and our favorite: an egg softer than a Ritz Carlton pillow. Brave customers (who have already braved a heck of a long line) can invite even more guests to their party bowl, like deep fried shrimp heads, pork cheek or “Toki Endorphin Sauce.”

All of Chef Erik Bruner-Yang’s ramen dishes are inspired by a Hakata Ramen shop in Taipei. In a fun coincidence, I spent two years living in Hakata (Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan) and can say with confidence that I prefer Chef Yang’s piping hot, flavorful bowls to even the most secretive train station ramen shops.

On a final note, it’s nice that Americans haven’t adopted the slurping system of cooling noodles. Let’s keep it that way. That sound still haunts my dreams.

Kimchi Ramen not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.