Handmade Ramen! Get Your Handmade Ramen!
In the course of writing this week's cafe review of Cafe Kubo's, I asked the question: Does any place in Houston hand-make their ramen noodles?
Photos by Troy Fields Tonkotsu ramen at Cafe Kubo's. See more photos in our slideshow.
As it turns out, at least two places do. At least for tonight.
I ran into Josh Martinez at a birthday party this weekend, and quickly struck up a conversation with him on the topic of handmade ramen noodles. Martinez recently left Kata Robata after a long stint as the Japanese restaurant's general manager. Kata Robata is among the handful of places in town where you get get good ramen, but like at Cafe Kubo's, the ramen noodles aren't handmade in-house.
Martinez clued me in to one place that is, however: Soma Sushi. Soma's executive chef, Jason Hauck, has been hand-making a batch of fresh ramen noodles daily for the Hokkaido-style pork and shrimp ramen dishes that are on his menu.
The Modular has been setting up at Grand Prize around 8 p.m. on Wednesday evenings. And for tonight's service, the full menu will be served in addition to the friendly ramen showdown between Martinez's Modular noodles and Hauck's noodles from Soma. It's the ideal time to figure out what all this ramen fuss is about if you've never tried the stuff before.
Grand Prize is great and all, but does it have a fridge full of mini-jugs of Japanese plum wine, decorated with tiny origami swans? No, it does not. Get on that, Brad.
Martinez's noodles won't be made in the Modular, but that doesn't mean they aren't hand-made: "We did get our noodles made fresh this morning at Southern Noodle Co.," he said earlier today. "They make a mean noodle fresh."
Tomorrow, we'll take a closer look at the on-the-menu ramen that Hauck is serving at Soma. It's a doozy of a dish. But for today, head over to our review of Cafe Kubo's to read about the fast-food-style restaurant's rich, mahogany-colored miso ramen and its creamy, giddily porky tonkotsu ramen, both of which are far better than they should reasonably be for only a few bucks a bowl.
And tonight, we'll see you at Grand Prize.
Check out Cafe Kubo's bustling dining room and busy kitchen in our slideshow.
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