“Who do you like better, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?”
I don’t know. I have opinions on both, but I like to think they’re more nuanced than just picking a favorite. There are Stones songs I prefer to Beatles songs and Beatles songs I like better than Stones songs. Sometimes it depends on my mood. Sometimes I don’t want to hear either of them.
It’s okay to like more than one thing at a time. And I feel like I have to say this because whenever I’ve posted about Tamashii Ramen House, I inevitably hear from people who say they like Goro Ramen. And whenever I post about Goro Ramen, I am guaranteed to hear from people who prefer Tamashii.
Well, this isn’t my parents’ divorce* and I don’t have to choose. I like Tamashii a lot. Same with Goro. And the reasons I choose one or another on a given day are pretty banal, but here you go:
- Where my friends can meet for a quick lunch
- Which one has more room inside
- Which one has more room outside
- Which one is open
- RANDOM CHANCE
And if you absolutely cannot abide Tamashii’s ramen, well, that sucks for you, bud. And if you cannot fathom someone choosing Goro, well, too bad, pal. Both exist. Both are great. If you’ve had a bad experience at one and prefer to eat at the other, then be thankful we’ve got more than one great place to eat ramen in this city.
Personally, I’m grateful for the variety. Because ramen broth isn’t exactly easy to make and restaurants have a limited amount of space, you don’t always get a ton of different options. More than one shop means more than one kind of ramen. That’s a win in my book.
*OK, my parents aren't divorced and they would never make me choose, because neither of them really want me.
We’ll get to the ramen in a bit, but before that, let me ask you how you feel about octopus donuts.
Yeah, okay, I get that it doesn’t immediately sound irresistible, but I’ve really come to love takoyaki (five for $4.50). They’re fried balls of dough, stuffed with octopus and drizzled with a sweet, tangy sauce and kewpie mayo. That didn’t help, did it?
Look, all I know is that they’re weirdly addictive. The dough is crisp on the outside and kind of creamy on the inside, likely steamed to perfection by the moisture in the octopus. For those who haven’t had octopus, it’s got a shrimp-like flavor, but the texture is firmer, like steak. The sauce combo on top really accentuates the flavor of the takoyaki rather than covering them up. Live a little and get an order.
Chasudon ($4.50 small/$8.50 large) may also sound a little odd at first, but one bite will have you hooked. It’s a bowl of rice, topped in braised pork that’s been tossed in a sweet and savory sauce, drizzled in truffle mayo and sprinkled with green onion.
I have gone to Tamashii and just had chasudon before. It’s so good that I actually skipped the ramen. (Usually I get both..and more stuff, because I have a problem.) It’s a textural delight, with fall-apart meat and creamy sauces soaking into the starchy, slightly chewy rice. Good lord am I ready for another bowl of that stuff right now.
Seriously, ramen is coming up soon, I promise, it’s just that Tamashii makes this garlic fried rice ($7.50) that is probably classified by the government as a CDS (controlled delicious substance). It’s an omelet and a pile of rice and they chop it all up in a cast iron skillet and the rice gets all crispy and crunchy and the garlic butter soaks into every nook and cranny.
Somebody walking past me saw the skillet and said, “Best fried rice you’ll ever eat!” Yes, random other diner, I agree with you. It’s really wonderful, enough that people you don’t know feel a shared kinship with you over how good it is.
It’s like validation. “See, everybody?! I wasn’t crazy for getting fried rice at a ramen restaurant!”
And if you’re thinking, “Oh, maybe I shouldn’t get the ramen at Tamashii” then stop right there. You’re wrong. You should get the ramen. You just should also get lots of other stuff. Or maybe just go back to Tamashii several times and try all of it.
You can’t go wrong with the classic tonkotsu ramen ($9.50), but I couldn’t resist upgrading to the ninniku tonkotsu ramen ($10.50), which pumps up the jams with four different types of garlic for a big burst of flavor.
The bowl is filled with creamy tonkotsu broth that is dosed with fresh, roasted and fried garlic and a drizzle of black garlic oil and a pile of tender, springy noodles. They add in braised pork belly, green onion, marinated bamboo and a soft boiled egg. Wowsers. I recommend taking your chopsticks and just obliterating all the toppings into a bunch of little pieces and then start shoveling noodles and related ephemera into your mouth. Every few bites, slurp down a spoonful of that rich broth and just enjoy a life that has led you here.
The broth in the miso butter corn ramen ($9.75) isn’t quite so thick, but it’s no less luxurious, thanks to the finishing touch of a slice of butter that melts into the bowl and infuses everything with that decadent creaminess.
You still get the pork belly and the bamboo, but there’s also seaweed and buttery corn, which adds this lovely sweet crunch.
My favorite new addition to the menu is curry ramen ($10.50), which has the weirdest ingredient I’ve ever seen in a bowl of ramen: shredded cheese.
The broth is most like a gravy and the cheese adds to that texture while also giving it a mild tanginess. The curry is mild and comfortable — a sweet, subtle aromatic touch that sets it apart from Indian or Thai curries. The pork belly is diced up and fried in curry spices, as well, for a richer flavor. It may not be right for everyone, but it’s extremely right for me.
I love Tamashii. The owners and staff are extremely friendly and helpful. They’re intent on welcoming people into the world of ramen, which can definitely seem daunting if it’s your first time. The food is uniformly wonderful, so it’s little wonder they’ll soon be opening a second location in Edmond, albeit with a more fast-casual feel.
Regardless, I’m grateful for all the ramen options we can get in OKC. Whether you’re at Tamashii or Goro or Yuzo Sushi Tapas or Tokyo Japanese Restaurant or some other newcomer entering the market, we’re all better off with more to choose from and more spots to keep everybody on their A-game.