A new Asian restaurant with roots in Japan is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth: Called Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya, it's opening a location in Plano, at The Shops at Legacy at 5760 Legacy Dr. #4, in the former Kenny's Smoke House location.
According to Kizuki project manager Eric Wang, the shop will open in the next few weeks.
"We just passed inspection, our team is in place, and we're excited to bring our very authentic version of ramen and Japanese food to the DFW area," Wang says.
The concept was founded in Seattle by Brandon Ting, a young entrepreneur who apprenticed with a ramen chain in Japan before opening his first location in 2012. There are now 15 locations in the U.S., including Katy, Texas, which opened in mid-2022.
All stores are corporate owned, which means that they're able to keep an exacting eye on consistency and quality control.
Wang says their food is prepared the same way it is in Japan, including a unique method of roasting bones before boiling, not unlike the French style of making consommé.
"We were the first in the Japanese ramen industry to employ this method, which results in a rich, flavorful broth that is fragrant, and full of depth," Wang says.
Dedicated to replicating the flavor of traditional ramen, they sometimes import ingredients from Japan.
Their menu features a dozen ramen options including:
- Tonkotsu, the classic with pork broth
- Garlic Tonkotsu
- Spicy, with chiles
- Veggie, with a mushroom and kelp stock
- Miso & Spicy Miso
- Shoyu, flavored with slightly sweet soy sauce from Yamaguchi prefecture
- Chicken, with chicken broth
- Tsukemen, featuring a broad, chewy noodle dipped into extra strong-flavored broth for drinking
"We go through hundreds of pounds of pork bones to get the right broth," Wang says. "But the noodles are most important, and our staff goes through an entire training method on how to make them properly."
They also offer a few options you don't see at other ramen places such as their Yuzu Shio with a Japanese citrus base, kelp, and French sea salt.
"It has pork, veggies, and soft-boiled egg in a delicate pork and chicken bone broth, but with a citrusy yuzu finish that's tangy, almost refreshing," he says.
They're not just about the ramen, though: They have an expansive izakaya (pub-style) menu with dumplings, pork buns, potato croquettes, and Japanese-style Chicken Karaage fried chicken. Rice dishes includes chicken or pork chasu on rice and veggies.
Notably, the restaurant's design is inspired by the Ramen Museum in Yokohama, founded as "the world's first Ramen-themed amusement park," featuring a replication of a streetscape in Japan.
Wang says the Houston location has been going gangbusters, and they're optimistic that the emerging Asian population in North Dallas and beyond will recognize the specialness of what they're doing.
"In the restaurant world, there's a lot of areas where you can take short cuts — but Kizuki brings an authenticity in technique that's rare," he says.