Yona / Photo by Rey Lopez


Apples and radishes salad from Yona / Photo by Rey Lopez

Though experts say a bowl of ramen should be consumed in less than 10 minutes, I have trouble moving that quickly at Yona. I like to examine the richness of the pork belly, the creaminess of the egg, the assertiveness of the pickled ginger. I like the spring of the squiggly noodles, the deep porky broth. I want to study the textures, the assorted flavors. But mostly, I want to be at Yona because it has the best restaurant soundtrack in Northern Virginia. No, not the slurping, the golden age of rap. There’s Q-Tip and Nas and Biggie and the memories of ’90s youth. Just as Christopher Wallace was a poet, the dishes here transcend stereotypes.

Swipe barely seared veal, a funky, grassy slip of meat, into the Italian tonnato sauce next to inky dots of nori puree for a dish that mixes Italian and Japanese. Inspiration is from everywhere: Korean fried chili wings, Hawaiian tuna poke and the showstopper, the most-talked-about dish: the uni waffle. Here we go with sea urchin on a European street food with another three types of roe: ikura, caviar and taramasalata for bites wonderfully fishy, squishy and in the limelight.

Established: December 2015
Type: Japanese, eclectic Modern American
Good for: tonkitsu-shiro ramen, uni waffle, seared veal, complimentary sparkling water and the perfectly curated rap soundtrack
Address: 4000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Open: daily for lunch and dinner

(May 2016 Best New Restaurants 2016)