Houston's Ramen Obsession Isn't Dying Down in 2014
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.
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt Food truck Miso Yummy serves Korean-inspired ramen, which is definitely not traditional, but still pretty tasty.
"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.