Soup, There It Is

Toki Underground masters ramen

The colorful graffiti, repurposed skateboard art and giant, flame-licked soup pots are all signs of Toki Underground's enticing new energy. Despite the tiny restaurant's frenetic verve, the Taipei-inspired H St. ramen house ladles homey, fortifying soups ($10) that are ideal for before and after a night on the town.

The menu is tight, with each option based around well-salted hakata broth, which is made from pork bones. Toki's classic ramen fills the thick, meaty broth with a slice of tender pork loin, boiled spinach, a poached egg and, of course, a tangle of long, dense noodles. Each spoonful dredges up broth studded with black sesame seeds and nori, which you can spice with a side dish of house-made sriracha ($1.50).

Curry Chicken Hakata fuses two favorite comfort foods: fried chicken and noodle soup. The curry-infused broth has a building heat that's cut with ginger and scallions. But it's the bite-size pieces of fried chicken, seasoned with the clove-heavy scent of five-spice powder, that add crisp, peppery heft.

Even desserts have comforting appeal. We're partial to milk with your choice of warm, gooey chocolate cookies or snappy Chinese almond cookies ($7). The kitchen will soon expand service to 3 a.m. on weekends, making these sweets an ideal post-midnight snack.

Toki Underground, 1234 H St. NE (between 12th & 13th sts.); 202-388-3086 or tokiunderground.com