Foodies, ramen aficionados, and simply curious passers-by recently gathered outside the doors of the new Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya location in Plano, hoping to snag one of the 100 free bowls of ramen the restaurant was giving out to celebrate its grand opening. The early morning hours and 40-degree temperatures were a sacrifice it seems many were willing to make in search of a taste of Kizuki’s “authentic Japanese ramen.” And while Plano marks the Seattle-based ramen chain’s first location in North Texas, the surprisingly long line outside suggests it won’t be the last.
Kizuki Ramen is known for many things, one of which is the promise of an “authentic ramen experience”. From start to finish, owner Chris Wang says the goal is to create a “traditional Japanese dining experience.” Judging by our dining experience from start to finish, the place isn’t doing a bad job.
The worldly decor here is a good start to authenticity. Paper lanterns engraved with Japanese calligraphy are stacked on the front wall, providing a good backdrop to capture some worthy images. And if the photos weren’t enough entertainment, an open kitchen lets you watch the magic of noodle tossing, boiling broth, and stir-frying while you wait.
The wait for the food was 10-15 minutes, but our verdict is that the wait, both at the table and in line, was well worth it. Kizuki’s unique cooking style involves roasting pork bones before boiling for broth. Wang says this makes the broth more flavorful, similar to how it would taste in a roadside Japanese cafe. Kizuki’s bowls of ramen come in a dozen different flavors, each with various combinations of broths and toppings. The most popular garlic tonkatsu ($14.80) comes with a garlicky pork broth that is simmered for 16 hours. A vegetable option ($13.50) has a mushroom and soy broth flavored with salted seaweed. Kizuki’s Spicy Ramen ($14.50) has a house-made blend of chiles, garlic, and pork broth. Hand-pulled noodles float atop all 12 Kizuki dishes, adding to the satisfying sips. In case the health warning label on the menu didn’t reveal it, here’s your head: It’s spicy.
The bowls are served piping hot and accompanied by toppings such as bean sprouts, cherry tomatoes and traditional Japanese fish cakes, to name a few. Many of Kizuki’s ingredients are imported directly from Japan and prepared by chefs specially trained to mimic those produced in traditional Japanese kitchens.
The recently opened locations in Houston, Taiwan and Australia are a testament to the worldwide popularity Kizuki has gained since its founding in 2012. The Plano location is the latest addition to 20 (and counting) locations spread across the globe. But despite its rapid expansion, Kizuki remains true to its goal of bringing the Japanese ramen experience to diners. From the interior decor to the Japanese style cuisine to the flavorful ramen, it delivers that authenticity.
Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya, 5760 Legacy Circle, Plano. Sunday – Thursday, 11:00 – 21:00; Friday – Saturday, 11am – 10pm