To several generations of Americans, the word “ramen” has been evocative of instant noodle soup. The kind you ate in college when you were completely broke and lacked even the most basic of cooking skills. The kind you prepared for your children or younger siblings when they demanded an after-school snack, but time was tight and you didn’t want them to spoil their dinner. The kind of noodles that are so versatile you didn’t even have to cook them if you didn’t have the time or energy–you just sprinkled that package of seasoning on top of the noodle brick and chomped your way through.
While these sodium-packed dried noodle packages are quick, economical, and easy to prepare, they are no substitute for the real ramen, a hot and flavorful soup of Japanese origin rapidly gaining popularity in some parts of the U.S. In Houston, for example, one may think twice before purchasing Maruchan or Nissin noodles after a friend asks if ramen sounds good for dinner. This is thanks to eateries such as…
Located in the Rice Village, Cafe Kubo’s is a good place to get a great bowl of ramen. Quick and inexpensive, everything about the Kubo’s ramen experience is no-frills except for the ramen itself, which aficianados consider among the most delectable in the Houston area. Three types of ramen are served after 5PM and all day on weekends: Tokyo Shoyu, Tonkotsu, and Miso.
Goro & Gun
Every ramen lover has his or her own idea of the perfect bowl of noodle soup, and for a number of Houstonians that perfect bowl can be found at Goro & Gun. This Japanese eatery is known for its ever-changing menu. But thankfully, some things here do stay the same. Pork and lobster are the two most popular bases chef JD Woodward uses at this ambient restaurant, which boasts a high-class atmosphere at mid-range prices. Residents of luxury Houston apartments at AMLI 2121, AMLI Memorial Heights, and AMLI City Vista do not have to travel far out of their way to enjoy a warm, satiating bowl of Goro & Gun’s good stuff.
Another West University neighborhood favorite, Kata Robata is one of the Houston Metroplex’s premier Japanese grills. Renowned Chef Manabu Horiuchi has an expansive repertoire of dishes that can suit all tastebuds. If you are not after ramen, you will have no problem finding something that pleases your palate at this two-time recipient of the “Best Sushi in Houston” award. If you are searching for ramen, however, you are also unlikely to be disappointed. The Spicy Soy Ramen is a patron favorite.
If you are looking for the sleek, minimalist design that has become popular around the country at Japanese restaurants, you won’t find it at Sasaki Japanese Restaurant. What you will find, however, is authentic Japanese cuisine prepared using the gadgets and techniques you could expect to find at one of Tokyo’s finest eateries. Situated northwest of Bellaire, Texas, Sasaki is conveniently located for residents of AMLI Uptown who are looking to pick-up excellent Japanese food. If all you’re looking for is a steaming bowl of ramen, you can be out the door at Sasaki for under 0.
In terms of ethnic authenticity, Soma Sushi’s menu is about as far away from Sasaki’s as you can get. At Sasaki’s, you get Japanese Japanese. You can get that at Soma Sushi too, but Chef Mark Gabriel Medina is best known for his Franco-Japanese and Down Home-Japanese offerings. If you want to try a bowl of soup that is undoubtedly inspired by Japanese culinary traditions but uses local ingredients and has local flair, try the Texas or Black Bean Ramen. With six types of ramen on Soma Sushi’s daily dinner menu, it just may offer the most versatile selection in the city.
If you are looking to expand the range of restaurants you patronize on a regular basis and have yet to try a bowl of hot noodle soup from one of these fine Japanese restaurants, you’ve now got a great list of new places to try!
Are you a Houston apartment dweller with a seemingly insatiable craving for ramen?
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