This weekend, Eric Bruner-Yang from Toki Underground and Katsuya Fukushima from Daikaya invade Mess Hall in the Brookland neighborhood of DC to present Ramen World.  Besides unlimited ramen and drinks, guests can expect so much more to nom on.  Recently, I spoke with Al Goldberg, the brain behinds the culinary incubatory Mess Hall, to find out what’s in store this Sunday.
So, I have to congratulate you on pulling off something that almost sounds impossible.  Daikaya & Toki under one roof.  How did you convince two of the premier ramen destinations in the District to produce their gems in your space?

Some combination of bribery and blackmail. But honestly, I think it’s just an affirmation that chefs are genuinely interested in what we’re doing and want to support us while having fun. I believe they also want to connect with their following in unique ways. Mess Hall tries to facilitate these connections by bringing people together in a collaborative environment. People want to get involved in stuff like this. It doesn’t hurt that we’ve been in the DC food scene for 20 years and have worked hard to create meaningful relationships throughout. I’m very humbled that Erik and Katsuya agreed to come together for this. In doing so, they’re providing opportunities to a dozen newer small businesses and pulling them up. That strengthens the DC food scene plays to Mess Hall’s core values.

What can people expect to discover at Ramen World, the Eighth Wonder of the World?

On the surface, it’s just a one-of-a-kind interactive experience with hot chefs, great food, and crafted drinks, all under one roof. NBD. But wandering about, guests will find Old Skool Nintendos and another surprise or two. Plus the BEST little fundraiser for Miriam’s Kitchen that we could think of (short of putting Erik in a dunk tank).
Those that like to be on the cutting edge of DC up-and-coming food will venture into our garage bay to explore a Mess Hall Market featuring items produced at Mess Hall including: Mason Dixie Biscuit Company, Cajun Meets Asian, Junius Cold Brew, Wanderlust Coffee Roasters, and the debut of two product lines from MISFIT Juicery, and Chef Jess plus others. A Honeycomb Grocer pop-up will sell ingredients to recreate Ramen World in your own living room….
AND for guests that have heard-of-but-never-tried DC’s newest Asian concepts: Thip Khao, Donburi, Chaplin’s and SnoCream…they’ll be able to taste and tweet #noms to their envious followers.

Are there any specific details for those who like to imbibe more than ramen broth?

Kirin Ichiban abound. @cocktailfoolery assembled top talent from the DC chapter of the US Bartenders’ Guild to shake a variety of Ramen World-inspired cocktails featuring Bombay Sapphire, Pyrat Rum, and Dewars.

All this talk about food has made me hungry.  Enough already!  So there’s music too.  What bands will be performing?

No bands. Bruce Pike Productions is handling the Asian/hip hop/indie music piped throughout the 10,000 foot facility. The hypnotic sounds will make you forget you’re full, so you can slurp yet another bowl before we roll everyone out.

I can’t wait to venture off into Ramen World.  What other events are on the horizon at Mess Hall?

If the stars align, we’ll get Sushi Belly Tower back from LA on 2/27 for some incredible sashimi prepared up close and personal, plus Waygu beef flown overnighted Tokyo. That was a hot ticket in December and we’ve had dozens of requests to bring them back. It’s an elite event. If you have to ask how much it costs, you can’t afford it. But you’ll be in great company and the experience cannot be beat.
For a unique event that everyone can afford, check out the Slow Ride Sessions March 8th with New Belgium Brewing featuring an afternoon of 2 cooking classes, lunch, and beer. Tickets just launched for $45 and will go quickly once people find out who the instructors are (Hint: it’s a pickling class, and a braising class from local food heroes TBA soon). Limited availability.  http://www.eventbrite.com/e/pickled-braised-and-brewed-the-art-of-slow-food-tickets-15357066399

See everyone on Sunday.  VIP admission gets you access to all of this goodness at 2PM on February 8th and general admission begins at 3PM.  Mess Hall is about a 10 minute walk from the Rhode Island and Brookland Metro stations.  Nom nom.

Mess Hall DC
703 Edgewood Street, NE