IT’S SIMPLY THE PERFECT restaurant for Capitol Hill. Tokyo-stylish yet genuinely open-armed to scruffies and families. Affordable yet culinarily stimulating. A drop-in laid-back dining room, filled with long cafeteria-like tables, alongside a white-lit bar full of exotic cocktails and intimate two-tops. It’s Boom Noodle —built by the folks who brought us the hippest sushi conveyor belts in town, Blue C Sushi —and its day-into-late-night bustle behind the floor-to-ceiling windows makes Pike and 12th feel like the new hub of the city. Essentially a noodle shop plus—steaming ramen, soba, and udon bowls (including one of the latter crammed with smoked white king salmon and shiitake mushrooms) along with lesser-seen specialties like the Japanese “pizza” called okonomiyaki —Boom Noodle advances an East-West aesthetic that’s all about bold flavors and unexpected pairings. And proof aplenty that informal Japanese food is finally branching out from the teriyaki shop.

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