Houston's Ramen Obsession Isn't Dying Down in 2014

kimchiramen.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Food truck Miso Yummy serves Korean-inspired ramen, which is definitely not traditional, but still pretty tasty.
As for which restaurants in Houston have perfected these four criteria, Rosa says, in general, we're getting there. He likes Kubo's Sushi Bar and Grill, Kata Robata, Sasaki and Teppay for ramen, but laments that some of the new ramen-centered restaurants moving into town are neglecting to learn traditional ramen techniques before skipping straight to contemporary and fusion versions.

"There are two types of Japanese cuisine," Rosa says, "the traditional and the contemporary. I really believe that the hard work and discipline that goes into traditional cuisine is overlooked in Houston. I don't think restaurants should start serving contemporary until they get the traditional down, but unfortunately, it's the contemporary that is getting the attention."

When asked what it's going to take for good, traditional ramen to become the norm in Houston, Rosa provided us with his forecast: "It's going to take one ramen house to do it very well. And when all of the true, serious, die-hard, ramen-lovers fall in love with it and start eating there, you'll see other restaurants going there and figuring out how to do it right."

For example, he says, Kubo's lets the pork bones for its tonkotsu broth marinate for three-to-four days. That's how you do ramen broth right. But with few places in town really doing their best to create an authentic product, Rosa isn't overly optimistic.

"I'm just terrified of the day I read that a new ramen joint is coming to town and offering crunchy Cheetos on top."

We're scared too, buddy.

Location Info

Kubo's Sushi Bar & Grill

2414 University Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kata Robata Sushi & Grill

3600 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Sasaki Japanese Restaurant

8979 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Teppay Japanese Restaurant

6516 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

House of Pies

3112 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Nara

2800 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Fat Bao

3419 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Ramen Jin

11181 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Tiger Den

9889 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Soma Sushi

4820 Washington Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Ninja Ramen

4219 Washington Ave, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Goro & Gun - CLOSED

306 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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12 comments
Marinella
Marinella

Robb Walsh picked up on this thread in Houstonia.....noting this piece. I feel like he is speaking to an empty room on that website though...sad.

mgovshteyn
mgovshteyn

If we only had half as many great ramen spots as food writers doing stories about this supposed ramen craze...

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

I'm not sure Houston has an obsession with ramen. It's a fad, for sure, but as far as I can tell Houston only really has an obsession with hamburgers and Tex-Mex.

jimbo1126
jimbo1126

I just (as in a few minutes ago) had Ginger "Ramen" at Jenni's up the street. It was OK... satisfying, passing the first two criteria, the fourth not applicable, and spectacularly failing the third. I thought Nabi had a good one, but Nabi's no more.

hbh01
hbh01

Tonkotsu not tonkatsu

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

I just don't understand how goro & gun being primarily a ramen restaurant gets it so wrong. I mean seriously throw a stone in any direction in SF and you'll find 10x better ramen.

EFlesvig
EFlesvig

There are so many good Viet and Chinese option for noodles in Houston, I'm surprised this ramen trend even took hold here. Hipster or foodie fueled trend, I'm not sure, but misguided if you ask me.

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@hbh01 Whoops, thanks for catching! I'm usually so careful about that distinction!

johnnybench
johnnybench topcommenter

@EFlesvig I don't think the proliferation of good food is ever misguided.

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