Review: Gorō Ramen + Izakaya
Photo from NewsOK
Getting a seat at Gorō Ramen has not been an easy task since their opening a few weeks ago. They do not allow reservations or more than six to a party. This seems to be the new normal for any new business in the Plaza District. Not a bad problem to have, unless of course your staff is brand new to the cuisine you create. Learning the menu items in English is easy at most places, but the Gorō menu items are harder to pronounce. This was clearly a conversation had by the staff and Chef Jeff Chanchaleune. They smartly added a glossary of words right on the menu. Which makes ordering easier.
While we waited to be seated, we found a few spots at the bar. If you had any questions about how ramen is made or how hard the preparation is, sit at the bar for thirty minutes. The kitchen is an impressive machine of pots, pans, burners and chefs. It takes a village to create great ramen! The Bartender, which I forgot to get his name so I apologize, was very attentive and knowledgeable of all their special cocktails. He recommended the Pei Mei to start. It included Sake, Gin, Urban Tea House matcha, honey syrup, and lavender bitters. The green color of this cocktail made me feel like I was drinking Nickelodeon Slime. Very delicious slime at that.
By this time our entire group had assembled and a table was open. All of the sudden, excitement came over all of us. We were introduced to our server and someone who was training to become a server. Again, a great way of getting the staff ready for the many questions that might come up with a new cuisine unfamiliar to the locals. A few at our table were already versed in the Ramen culture and were able to navigate the menu. Others needed the help of the server to get a crash course in all things Ramen. Of course if you are new to this style of cuisine, it is best you start with the house specialty. That happens to be the Tori Paitan. Meaning, chicken white broth. Inside you will find pork belly, menma (bamboo), fried garlic, bean sprouts, ajitama (marinated egg) and negi (green onions).
Before our bowls of artistic ramen came to the table, and they do look like art, a few of us partook in appetizers. We tried the brussels sprouts salad and the tebasaki (fried chicken wings). Both were amazing and are definitely recommended. However, if you aren’t use to ramen, save room for it. The bowl seems small, but there is a fair amount of food in there and it might fill you up quicker than you can imagine. If you are use to ramen, make sure to keep an open mind about the taste. Each Chef puts their own spin on their recipe. Not all ramen is the same and we should all be happy about that.
My first slurp, yes there is an etiquette to eating ramen. They actually recommend you watch a video on the correct way of partaking. My first slurp was a surprise. It had been a long time since my last slurp, so my taste buds had to adjust. Also, if you are a Pho addict, do not think of Pho when you are eating ramen. You will do it a disservice. The broth was rich with flavor and the noodles had a slight bounce to them. It gave me a second to think about what I had just encountered. Slowly the broth takes you over. You immediately find yourself slurping at will. Yes, do pick up the bowl and sip up some of the broth like you would if you were drinking the leftover milk in your cereal bowl. That was definitely my favorite part. It takes hours to prepare this broth. It also takes patience. The broth can make or break your ramen experience. Thankfully Chef Jeff, most call him that, and his kitchen staff have made sure that the break never happens. In all, my advice to all ramen lovers, go to Goro and try everything on the menu before you make a decision. Some will like it, some will love it and some will not be able to get enough of it. You will likely see regulars there more than twice a week. Ramen is more of a lifestyle than a dish. If you don’t get it, you never will.