Shoki Ramen House softly opened its latest location at 2530 21st Street yesterday, and the space manages to feel both old and new at once.
Old, because it still carries some of the same Western charm from the space’s previous tenant, Trails Restaurant. Trails opened in 1952, with its big neon sign practically a landmark ever since.
The sign is still there, as well as the dark wood paneling, cushy booth seating and vintage lighting. The restaurant is noticeably brighter, in part because the kitschy wallpaper has been ripped down in favor of white paint. Shoki also added Japanese accents: orchids, artwork and wall hangings.
Shoki’s other location is on R Street, near the Warehouse Artists Lofts. It closed its original ramen shop in Curtis Park last year to make way for the 21st Street location, which is much larger.
The new Shoki will continue to add menu items during its soft opening—including, for the first time, breakfast—but already, the style is distinctly different than R Street. Here, the emphasis is on build-your-own ramen bowls.
First, you choose your broth (shoyu, shio, tan tan men, tsukemen and eight other options, including three vegan-friendly versions). Then, your starch (different wheat noodles, yam noodles, rice or quinoa). From there, you can add meat, an egg, tofu and different veggies.
If you go with a group, you can order toppings for the table and share. Otherwise, you’ll need to be selective—or wind up with a pretty expensive bowl. The soup base ranges from $3 for a small to $7 for a large. Everything else costs an additional $1-$4 apiece.