Killer Noodle will test the strength of Houstonians’ tastebuds — starting with the October 15 opening of its first Texas location in the Heights.
Located at 1835 N. Shepherd Drive, #B, next door to The Waffle Bus, the ramen shop will serve tantanmen, a spicy style of Japanese ramen similar to dan dan noodles that originated in the Sichuan province of China, in a variety of heat levels.
Killer Noodle’s three signature styles will include its original version, that’s topped with white mapo tofu; its creamy Tokyo ramen that’s rich with peanut and sesame flavors; and its tangy and acidic Downtown-style, which is flavored with vinegar and chili. Most notably, diners can choose to have their ramen made with or without broth and will pick their heat level, which ranges from “no spice” to “killer.”
A handful of toppings like char siu pork, soft-boiled eggs, green onions, tofu, and more, are available for an additional fee, and appetizers like gyoza, pork buns, and chicken karaage; rice bowls; and a selection of beer and sake will also be on the menu.
There’s been no sign of precautions from the restaurant for Houston’s menu thus far, but Los Angeles’ Killer Noodle outpost, which opened in 2017, came with some warnings, according to reports by Eater LA. Its menu once discouraged first-time visitors from trying the higher spice levels, noting that they wouldn’t take back bowls if customers deemed them too spicy. Owners also recommended accompanying a cooling yogurt drink for those who suffered from the heat and forewarned diners on the menu to “take care of [their] bottoms,” possibly implying “painful ramifications” after the meal’s end.
Though Killer Noodle’s first location launched in LA, its roots lead to Japan. Its founder, Takehiro Tsujita, opened his first restaurant, Tsujita, in Tokyo in 2003 with the goal of serving ramen, sushi, and Japanese cuisine. He later expanded the restaurant, opening multiple stores throughout Japan and the United States, including an outpost in Los Angeles in 2011 and another location in New Jersey.
Tsujita later opened an offshoot of his namesake restaurant, Killer Noodle, in Los Angeles in 2017 to rave reviews, with Eater LA reporting that the restaurant was already drawing in lunch crowds on the day of its opening, and a Los Angeles Times review describing the bowls of ramen as being accompanied by an “endorphin high.”
Now, Killer Noodle has two locations in California, in West Los Angeles and in San Gabriel, and has plans to open three more locations in Texas by 2023.