Goro & Gun, Houston's First Ramen Shop, Opening Soon Downtown

Categories: Restaurant News

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Houston will surely appreciate Goro & Gun's noodles.
Goro and Gun are the two main characters in Tampopo, a 1985 Japanese cult classic that's often referred to as the "first ramen Western" (a play on the old spaghetti westerns such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). It's fitting, then, that Joshua Martinez's upcoming downtown restaurant would be named after the two: Not only is Goro & Gun the first ramen shop in Houston, it's also a tribute to two characters who transformed a decrepit roadside joint into a place devoted to the "art of noodle soup making."

The downtown restaurant which will house Goro & Gun hasn't been home to anything successful in years. Its last resident was a sandwich shop, which closed almost as quickly as it opened. But like his fellow neighbors Charity Saloon and the upcoming Batanga and "Bad News Bar," Martinez hopes that Goro & Gun will be part of the ongoing revitalization of the downtown area near Market Street Square -- although he and partners Brad Moore and Ryan Rouse (also partners in the nearby "Bad News Bar") aren't quite ready to reveal Goro & Gun's exact location.

What he can reveal, however, is that he has big plans for the renovated shotgun-style space. Martinez has revealed the original turn-of-the-century tile floors and hopes to restore them to their original glory. He also purchased many interior fixtures and fittings during a recent auction from the 65-year-old Houston Club, which is scheduled for demolition later this year -- items like brass sconces, which will decorate the exposed brick walls, and a railing which will outline Goro & Gun's sidewalk patio when it opens in a month or so.

Martinez is most excited, however, about what's going on inside. A massive pasta extruder squats in one corner of the surprisingly large kitchen, and this is where Goro & Gun's culinary team -- executive chef David Coffman and sous chef Matt Womack -- will be pulling ramen noodles fresh every day. This means that not only will Goro & Gun be the only ramen shop in Houston, it will also be the only ramen shop in the entire country pulling its own noodles in-house.

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Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
The interior is still shaping up.
"In New York and L.A., they have shops that only make noodles," Martinez notes. "And they make really good noodles. So why make them yourself?" That's the model that all ramen shops follow, after all, and Martinez is quick to acknowledge that both making and serving ramen noodles might be too much to handle.

"Either we're really smart or we're really, really stupid," Martinez laughs. He has a contingency plan in place, however, with a local ramen noodle manufacturer in case it all goes horribly awry.

He's also quick to note that there's more to Goro & Gun than just noodle soup.

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25 comments
chetbellman
chetbellman

Excited by this, it is way overdue. Simplicity defined.

Gregory M. Buchold
Gregory M. Buchold

I think MFAH will be showing Tampopo on their "Meals on Reels" series when it opens

overmatt
overmatt

"We also will serve things that I love and can't find done well here." One example? Soup dumplings. "I can't find a good soup dumpling here," he says.

IMHO the soup dumplings at Fu Fu Cafe are pretty good.

Pretty excited about this opening, the Market Sq area is shaping up nicely

Houston Press
Houston Press

Chris Dupla, here's a basic breakdown: Pho noodles are long, thin, straight, Vietnamese-style rice noodles. Ramen noodles are shorter, curly, Chinese-style wheat noodles that sometimes also have egg in them. They're richer tasting and have more body to them than pho noodles do.

nguyenhm17
nguyenhm17

I hope they don't go all avant garde, because I've been wanting a good bowl of ramen in Houston for a long, long time. If they are just going to make some modern noodle soup, as good as it may be they shouldn't call it ramen. 

Being one of my favorite foods ever, I've eaten ramen in Japan, at all the ramen shops in NYC, a bunch of places on the west coast (LA/OC and SF Bay Area) and every time I go somewhere near a Mitsuwa market I stop by Santouka Ramen in their food court, which IMO has the best ramen in the United States.

To me, if you call it ramen, you are setting certain expectations and asking to be compared to all those places, so the execution has to be spot on. The statement that they are going to try making their own noodles gives me some pause, many of the top ramen places in the US import their noodles from Japan.

That said, I can't wait for Goro & Gun to open.

Chris Dupla
Chris Dupla

forgive my ignorance, but what is the difference from Ramen noodles and Pho noodles?

Audrey Carreón
Audrey Carreón

Ooo, they also said they will have soup dumplings! Yum!

Yamaha Hoda
Yamaha Hoda

www.jwjmeypiyb.gomakemoney120.info/tvpnv.kwliq

Sarah Belham
Sarah Belham

Tony, the 5-for-$1 ramen is to real ramen as a no-name chocolate Santa from the dollar store is to Godiva.

Houston Press
Houston Press

Tony Gutierrez, have you ever had freshly made ramen noodles in a thick, nutty broth made from slow-boiled pork bones? It's like pho on steroids. So amazing.

jimbo1126
jimbo1126

I think of all the restaurants opening this spring, this is the one that most excites me. It was by accident that I "discovered" ramen in NYC, happening upon a place called Ippudo and deciding to try it. It was amazing stuff, and once home, saw a tweet from Alison Cook saying Ippudo was some of, if not the, best ramen in the U.S. I'm sure Goro & Gun will be just as comforting.

Irene Sasaki
Irene Sasaki

At least we can dream of the day it opens!

Houston Press
Houston Press

Err, opening soon. Not quite open yet. We just got too excited.

Tony Gutierrez
Tony Gutierrez

A place for hipsters to go pay $6.95 for a package of Ramen...I'll stick to the Kroger 5 for $1 special

jamestda
jamestda

@Gregory M. Buchold tyty!  I was considering buying Tampopo, but who would watch it with me?  Crisis resolved!  So who's going to join me for Tampopo and Goro & GuN!?

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@nguyenhm17 From what Josh told me, they're going to keep it basic: tonkotsu ramen, miso ramen, a vegetable-based ramen and possibly shoyu ramen. When I asked if they were going to get crazy and do inventive ramen,  I got a withering look -- which I took as a good sign.  :)

themodular
themodular

@Tony Gutierrez this old guy is too fat first and too old to be a hipster. but 6.95 for our ramen? i think not. this stuff takes days to just make the stock. try a little more on the price, but well worth every penny. proof is in the pudding or in this case in the soup. 

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