In this month's issue of Houstonia, we spotlighted Soma Sushi as one of the 50 restaurants that defines Houston dining. Of particular interest at the Washington Avenue sushi joint was chef Gabe Medina's ramen—especially a recent special of so-called "Texas ramen" served with slices of barbecued brisket on top. The Texas ramen at Soma was one of my favorite meals of the year; alas, it was only served through the month of July.
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However, Medina is resurrecting his smoky, savory Texas ramen for two nights only—tonight and tomorrow night—as part of his trip to New York City for this weekend's International Chefs Congress. The yearly culinary symposium invites chefs from across the world to learn and share from their fellow cooks, and each year's panel of presenters is an all-star affair. Houston's own barbecue star, Ronnie Killen of Killen's BBQ, has been invited to compete in the symposium's first-ever SMOKE@ICC barbecue competition—and he asked Medina to accompany him.
While Killen will be smoking the required brisket, pork butt, quail, and leg of lamb, Medina will be serving his Texas ramen alongside Killen's dishes to a panel of judges. But in order to make the one gallon of broth needed for the competition, Medina had to make 12 gallons—after all, there's no such thing as a small batch of really good ramen broth.
Medina has generously left the remaining 11 gallons of Texas ramen broth at Soma Sushi, along with all the fixings and toppings, with plans to serve all of it tonight and tomorrow. "It should be plenty to be quite honest," Medina said.
Meanwhile, Medina and Killen hope their SMOKE@ICC appearance replicates the success they had in April, when both chefs took home prizes at the second annual Go Pig or Go Home throwdown at Kata Robata: Killen won first place for his barbecued pork ribs and belly, while Medina's Texas ramen won both second place and the coveted People's Choice award.