Here, Eat This

Goro & Gun Combines Two of Houston's Biggest Obsessions: Ramen and Crawfish

The broth is darker than ramen broth, and it's more rich, more velvety. Instead of a five-minute egg and slices of pork floating above chewy noodles, there's fresh corn and bright red curly crawfish tails. To eat it, you're given chopsticks and a chirirenge spoon. On the side, packs of saltine crackers and Louisiana hot sauce.

If it sounds like these elements don't go together, it's because some belong to the classic cajun dish gumbo, and some belong to the classic Japanese soup ramen. Together they make gumbo ramen, the latest experiment to come out of Goro & Gun's constantly evolving kitchen.

"It's actually something we've been joking around about ever since we made gumbo for the Thanksgiving Throwdown," says chef JD Woodward. "We were like, we should do gumbo ramen! Why the hell not?"

To make a gumbo/ramen hybrid, Woodward started by creating what any good gumbo needs: a good roux. He then mixed the thickened roux with part of the base for the lobster ramen, a hot and sour soup. From there, the broth was thinned down and spiced until it achieved the right consistency and the right flavor--something between Asian and Cajun.

"It's not really gumbo," Woodward admits when I ask what makes this something other than just gumbo with noodles in it. "It's not thick enough to be gumbo, but it does have enough body to stick to the noodles."

The ramen/gumbo is also packed with andouille sausage from Burt's ("You can't make an andouille like that, so why even try?") along with lots of crawfish tails. Owner Joshua Martinez says that he and Woodward shucked 150 pounds of crawfish over two days to prepare for the new dish.

"We've gotten the menu settled enough that we can now go back to focusing on ramen making," Woodward explains. He adds that Goro & Gun will be serving gumbo ramen this weekend and for the next three weekends. He hasn't decided exactly when he'll be serving the new dish, but he's thinking lunch the next few Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

"Something that we've always been since the beginning, since even before we opened the restaurant is nontraditional," Martinez explains. "We just like to turn stuff on its side."

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Kaitlin Steinberg