Houston’s Goro & Gun: Bar food Japanese style

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HOUSTON - When it comes to Asian cooking, the sky's the limit. And in Houston the competition is stiff. There's Chinese and Korean, pad-Thai, Vietnamese, Pho shops and Noodle houses. Then there's the little-known Japanese tradition of Izakaya. If you haven't heard of it, then you haven't been to Goro & Gun.

"Izakaya is a kind of, in Japan it's a small bar where people come to drink and eat after work," Executive Chef John Woodward explains. Basically, it's a pub - asian style. And the plates coming out of the kitchen are bar food - with a twist.

"It really is about, 'what do we feel like making? What feels good to us? What kind of comfort can we bring to our guests?'" Woodward says.

The menu is everything from ramen to Vietnamese meatballs to something as ruggedly American as elk sausage served with sake or your choice of beer in the distinctly Japanese Izakaya tradition. And if it seems a little like Tokyo's answer to Cheers, Chew on This: the name Goro & Gun comes from two characters in a Japanese movie called 'Tampopo,' a comedy about two men working to save a struggling ramen shop and the hilarity that follows their highly impractical lives.

So does art imitate life, or is it the other way around? Guess you'd have to stop by to know the answer to that one.

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