From Indian curries to tangy salsas to Cajun favorites, Houstonians have always shown affection for restaurants that aren’t afraid to spice things up. A soon-to-open ramen restaurant in the Heights is counting on that enthusiasm, which will extend to Japanese noodles.
killer noodle claimed the former Cane Rosso space at 1835 N. Shepherd Dr. for its first Houston location. Scheduled to open Oct. 15, the Los Angeles-based restaurant is known for its tantanmen noodles, a style that originated in China’s Sichuan province. Served with or without broth, they come in seven levels of spice (zero to six) and seven levels of numbness, its version of the mala spiciness characteristic of Sichuan cuisine.
“In Japan, there is a wide range of ramen. There are many different styles, flavors and qualities,” marketing director Yuino Kumamoto told CultureMap in an email. “At Killer Noodle, all of these factors are taken into account to bring our customers a unique style of spicy ramen called ‘Dan Dan Men’. The rich peanut flavor, the fresh ingredients, the irresistible goodness of the spices or the experience mouth numbing (if you like) are just a few of the reasons why Killer stands out from the crowd.
Diners can add toppings such as a poached egg, chashu (rolled pork belly), and vegetables. In addition to its noodles, the restaurant offers appetizers such as gyoza, takoyaki, and karaage.
The restaurant grew out of the Tsujita Restaurant Group which started in Tokyo in 2003. Founder Takehiro Tsujita has grown the business to 18 locations in Japan, as well as two more in America and two Killer Noodles in Los Angeles. Jonathan Gold, the late award-winning food critic for the Los Angeles Timespraised Killer Noodle in a 2018 review.
You try Tokyo noodles with soup, level three (sansho level four), and you really like it. The soup is thick with peanuts, the top is sprinkled with sesame seeds and what a taste of chopped cashews, and there’s an almost imperceptible funk of dried shrimp.
It’s spicy but not too spicy. The downtown-style ramen you slip into the bowl next to you is also good – a little sweeter, a little more vinegary, with a little thinner broth. . . Your lips do not vibrate as strongly with the particular numbing effect of pepper.
The restaurant has big plans for Houston. A second site is expected to open on Westheimer next year, and the company is looking for a third to open by 2025.
“Houston is one of the best places in the world to enjoy fine cuisine from around the world, and at Killer Noodle we want to continue that trend by offering Houstonians a unique, authentic and innovative style of tasting a Japanese classic,” adds Kumamoto. . “Houston is very diverse with foodies who aren’t afraid to turn up the heat!”
Killer Noodle joins an area that is home to several ramen options. It will be located just down the street from one of eight Jinya Ramen Bar locations in the Houston area. Rakken Ramen, another Los Angeles-based restaurant, is located in the MKT mixed-use development, while Las Vegas’ Shokku Ramen is open 24/7 on Studewood.