It took only a day for the tickets for Goro & Gun’s preview dinners to sell out. The few lucky foodies who nabbed a seat for the March 18 and March 19 sneak peek dinners will be the first in town to sample the food and drink of what is being described as the first ramen shop in downtown Houston.
That might be a weak claim – after all, there aren’t a whole lot of places in Houston that serve ramen to begin with.
But the ramen shop that is set to open later next week comes from some of the city’s most popular and inventive chefs and bartenders. Co-owner Joshua Martinez, the brains behind the Modular food truck, has partnered with Brad Moore and Ryan Rouse of Grand Prize for the wee 306 Main St. space that sports only 45 seats with some patio space to come later. In the kitchen are executive chef David Coffman, formerly of Katsuya, and sous chef Matt Wommack, who most recently was with Revival Market. Bar manager Alex Gregg was lured from the Pass & Provisions.
Together they make up the team behind one of the most creative restaurants to open downtown in years. Goro & Gun, named for the main characters in the Japanese comedy “Tampopo,” is expected to open later next week, possibly by Friday, March 22. The restaurant will begin with a limited food menu but then roll out more items as the kitchen gears up. The food will be paired with Gregg’s bar menu that he has divided into three groups: highballs, craft cocktails and classics.
Martinez said he worked with the Japanese noodles in his food truck (now on hiatus and to be rebranded Goro & Gun truck) and felt they deserved a bricks and mortar store. Moore and Rouse had offered to join in the concept when Martinez felt ready. Since they are all original partners in OKRA (An Organized Kollaboration on Restaurant Affairs), which invested in downtown by opening the new Charity Saloon on Congress, the availability of downtown real estate soon guided them to 306 Main. (Moore and Rouse also are partners in Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge, helmed by former Anvil bartender Justin Burrow and set to open later next week next door at 308 Main.)
Ramen noodles not only are underserved in Houston, they are difficult to make, Martinez said. At Goro & Gun, the Japanese noodles (courtesy of a pasta extruder) will be bathed in complex broths that can take as many as 24 hours to cook. Martinez, who has worked with the Azuma Group at Soma and Kata Robata, expects foodies will come for the novelty of bowls of ramen and hopefully will be eager to sample Coffman’s other dishes, including the fried chicken that's sous vide in a dill brine, coated in buttermilk, dredged in seasoned flour and deep fried in cottonseed oil.
With the opening of Goro & Gun, Bad News Bar and the soon-to-debut Batanga at 908 Congress, downtown is Houston’s new hot spot.