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Samurai Noodle, on Durham in the Heights opened in 2015 as the 1st Houston location of a small Seattle, Washington chain of ramen joints. I stopped in for lunch yesterday, and was surprised to find a nearly full restaurant. Given the heat/humidity, a steaming bowl of tonkotsu didn't really grab me, but Samurai offers 3 tsukemen options: a cold fish-based broth (described as "sweet"), a "peppery" chicken broth, and a spicy version of the chicken. I went with the basic peppery chicken broth ("Tetsu-max"), with "firm" noodles (you can specify the chewiness of your noodles, from soft to extra-firm). The house-made noodles were indeed firm, and I would not recommend venturing below this level, if you aren't into mushy noodles. The broth was strong and salty, as it should be, augmented with shredded pork, bamboo, and bits of nori. Condiments on the table included pickled ginger and chili sauce if you cared to dress up your bowl further. The portion of noodles was reasonable for lunch, though I imagine if I were here for dinner, I might ask for an extra serving, or maybe order some gyoza or karaage to start. There were a couple families with small children, and they have high chairs available if you need that sort of thing.
I'm going to throw down the gauntlet and say that the unassuming storefront Shish Kabob Cafe in Katy puts out the absolute best kabobs in the Houston area (yes, even better than Bijan, though their rice is better). I've been a handful of times, tried lamb, beef, chicken in whole and ground forms, and not once have I had anything less than perfectly cooked meat. Served with buttery rice, grilled tomatoes, and plastic cutlery. This isn't fine dining, but it's really damn good. Start with a small serving of shirazi, and ask for a bit of the crispy tadigh.