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Dec 13, 2010 07:02 PM


I'll be visiting family in Houston this weekend and I have the usual objective of seeking what isn't available in Dallas. Need some help particularly with ramen.

Umai seems to be a frontrunner for their shoyu ramen and I'm just wondering if I can hear some more feedback on their ramen from folks on this board. I'd also appreciate input regarding the offerings from other restaurants like Kubo's Express or Nippon. Thanks!

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  1. I replied already on the chowhounds mailing list, but I'll repeat here -- Umai has tonkatsu ramen as well as several other, less authentic types of ramen. In addition, Umai is the only place in Houston where I've found okonomiyaki.

    Kata Robata does a good shoyu ramen, doesn't have tonkatsu ramen, unless Hori has been holding out on me.

    I can't personally recommend Jenni's noodle house - run by a great group of people, but their ramen was substandard and inauthentic. The noodles tasted like cardboard going down. Might have been better had the noodles been cooked slightly longer...

    I can't recommend Kubo's Express -- the original Kubo's did excellent sushi/sashimi and cooked dishes when Hori was the sushi chef there, but they've declined in quality since he left for Kata Robata. Kubo's Express was always intended as a quick, bar food place and I wasn't impressed the one time I visited, unfortunately.


    Kata Robata
    3600 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77098

    1 Reply
    1. re: grbroderick

      just an fyi, it's tonkOtsu ramen, not tonkatsu :) Two very different things!

    2. So what was your feedback re: Umai or other ramen shops you'd tried in Houston?

      2 Replies
      1. re: grbroderick

        Only went to Umai and ordered their Umai tonkotsu "signature" ramen bowl. The aromas coming from the milky broth were initially a good sign. Noodles had an acceptable chew but were otherwise unremarkable. I asked the server about the noodles, and she did say they weren't made in house.

        There was good variety in textures amongst the toppings (pork, fish cake, bamboo shoots, nori, spinach). I found the pork a little tough and not too fatty. The broth was rich and porky and I liked the flavor. However, the biggest complaint about this whole bowl of ramen was the broth's temperature, which was simply not hot enough and I would say it was warm at best. All things considered, it's an above average bowl of ramen.

        1. re: air

          Interestingly, today the Houston Press (Houston's weekly free newspaper) named Umai #5 in its listing of Houston's best new restaurants of 2010:

          I'd agree that the ramen isn't authentically hot enough, but then most white guys would burn their mouths if it was -- we don't know how to slurp noodle soup. I've always found the pork deliciously tender, but I'd noted the absence of the red julienne ginger root that I get at Kata Robata.

          Kata Robata
          3600 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77098

      2. Any updates? It seems that Umai is closed and I cannot find another ramen-ya in Houston. I'm visiting in two days and promised my wife ramen and now I'm at a loss.

        1 Reply
        1. re: yeah_whatever

          Call Kata Robata and ask if they'll be serving ramen.