Ramen: Where to Get the Trendy Dish in Houston and What's Next

Categories: Food Nation

somarammen1.jpg
Photo by Mai Pham
This ramen from Soma Sushi contains sous vide pork belly, a parboiled egg and shiitake mushrooms.
For every one person in Houston who complains that the ramen fad is over, there are ten more people who get really excited about every new ramen joint opening and every bowl they have yet to try. Like the cupcake, ramen refuses to die.

Fortunately, as Houston's ramen universe continues to expand, the offerings get better and better. Soma Sushi's chef Gabe Medina has made a point of testing new ramen recipes to keep the menu evolving, while Goro & Gun recently experimented with a crawfish ramen that was somewhere between the traditional Japanese soup and gumbo. Whatever you call it, it was mighty tasty. Newcomer Ninja Ramen is already getting positive reviews, while Kata Robata continues to impress with the spicy soy ramen, which regularly sells out.

Whatever sort of ramen you find yourself craving, chances are there's a Houston restaurant that can satisfy. It might not be quite what you'd get in Japan, but as far as comfort food goes, it's hard to beat.

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Photo by Troy Fields
Ramen in Common founder Carl Rosa credits Goro & Gun with starting Houston's ramen craze.
Aka Sushi House
There's only one ramen dish on the menu at Aka Sushi House--tonkotsu ramen. It's as traditional as can be with a thin, salty pork bone broth, egg noodles, a fish cake, roasted pork and corn. At lunch, it comes with soup and a salad for $9. At dinner, the soup alone is $8.

Cafe Kubo's Sushi
Among a sea of restaurants in Dun Huang Plaza, Kubo's stands out for longevity and variety. The menu features sushi, soups, izakaya offerings and main courses, as well as tonkotsu or shoyu ramen for lunch or dinner.

Fat Bao
Fat Bao on Kirby serves $9 bowls of ramen only on Monday and Tuesday nights after 5 p.m., but the Sugar Land location has it or lunch or dinner every day of the week. There's also an ongoing "Ramen Challenge" at the Fat Bao in Sugar Land: Finish one giant bowl of ramen (equivalent to five regular bowls) in one hour with no breaks and you win a cash prize.

Goro & Gun
When it first opened, Goro & Gun was touted as Houston's premier ramen destination. The other food on the menu quickly eclipsed the ramen (dem wings!), but the ramen has steadily improved. Try the lobster ramen for an unusual take on the dish. It's worth the $16 per bowl price tag.

Gyu-Kaku
The international Japanese barbecue chain is known for its grilled meats, but it also offers two types of ramen: kalbi and goma negi. Kalbi ramen features a spicy beef broth with kalbi beef (Korean marinated short ribs) while goma negi makes use of a clear oxtail broth with roasted pork. Each is $8.

Jenni's Noodle House
The three locations of Jenni's Noodle House around town offer five varieties of ramen--chili oil beef, ginger, chicken, pineapple and miso. The miso is the cheapest ($8 as opposed to $9) and the most traditional of the bunch.

Kaneyama Japanese Restaurant
Kaneyama in Westchase doesn't do fancy fusion ramen. There's one type on the menu--soy ramen for $8.65--and if you don't want that, there's an elaborate sushi selection.

Kata Robata
Chef Hori at Kata Robata makes two types of ramen, duck dumpling shoyu and spicy miso, but it's the spicy miso that draws crowds in for an early lunch so they can get a bowl before the kitchen runs out. The duck ramen is $15, while the soy is $14, and both are quite large portions.

This story continues on the next page.

Location Info

Aka Sushi House

2390 W. Alabama, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Cafe Kubo's Sushi

9889 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Fat Bao

3419 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Goro & Gun - CLOSED

306 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

510 Gray, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Jenni's Noodle House

3111 S. Shepherd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Sasaki Japanese Restaurant

8979 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kaneyama

9527 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Tiger Den

9889 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Soma Sushi

4820 Washington Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Teppay Japanese Restaurant

6516 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kata Robata Sushi & Grill

3600 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Miso Yummy

, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Ninja Ramen

4219 Washington Ave, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Ramen Jin

11181 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
23 comments
golferslk230
golferslk230

I keep trying ramen ever since I saw the movie Tampopo including on a visit to Tokyo. Just doesn't do it for me even though I like Japanese food and nabeyaki udon.  Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Long T. Vo
Long T. Vo

David, Mylan, Thu, Tina, Calvin, Patrick

Ivy Clonce
Ivy Clonce

Jenny Lau, Eugenia Fan, Joanne Chong - When and which one should we try.. ?

Cathy H. Tran
Cathy H. Tran

Emily Faber omg foodie group night to alllllll of these places lol ramen for dayyyyys

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Jenni's noodle house is awful, flavor where are you? Do you taste anything? No neither do I....

bixlermtn
bixlermtn

Yeah, but is Houston ready for chewy noodles?

THAT is the question, as the gals at CultureMap so succinctly put it.

I personally don't know if we are ready for the 'Ramen revolution'. Do you?

golferslk230
golferslk230

And I like Jenni's noodle house but I don't go there for ramen.

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@bixlermtn I love a good chewy noodle.


Man, I feel like there are so many ways to interpret that poorly...

bixlermtn
bixlermtn

@e_sandler 

Oops. I apologize Mr Sandler, I've lumped you in with the gals over there and didn't mean to. You're clearly the masculine force behind the soft, breathy whispers and deep questions that animate much of CultureMap's reportage.

Gentry
Gentry

@gossamersixteen @Gentry 

Dude, look, if you have the right social media and cultivate the right level of cool, the food doesn't really matter. Jenni is a real person. She is Vietnamese. Ate lots of noodles growing up. Went to UT. And has a husband who surfs. Food and flavor should take a back seat to that, surely.

BIGTX
BIGTX

@bixlermtn @e_sandler LOL. "The breathless whispers of a good friend....". He's like what, the culinary George Michael?

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@Gentry @gossamersixteen Dude! (said for effect only) I know they're good people you need not sell me on that. But if they cared they would have far better food, and for the record I don't care whose from where, they could be from mars for all that I care. What I want is good food when I go to a restaurant (period) and my experiences there have been universally mediocre that coupled with rather higher prices. When I can make better food at home, or dine elsewhere with better food for half the price why would I care at all how cool the patrons of a restaurant are? Clearly my money is better spent elsewhere. Need proof read some yelp reviews, especially for the dreadful post oak location.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@Gentry @gossamersixteen Any restaurant that has twice as many 1-2 star reviews as their 5 star reviews is pretty bad. Numbers don't lie, sorry to rain on your apologist parade..

Gentry
Gentry

@gossamersixteen @Gentry Nah, they just have a lot of angry competitors placing bad reviews about them. Trust me. Look at all the Asians you see happily eating at Jenni's everyday. They can't be wrong, their taste buds don't lie!

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