Teppay Japanese restaurant initially came on my restaurant radar because two little birds told me they served very good ramen. And while I already had several places in Houston that I knew I could rely on to get my noodle-and-broth fix (i.e., Ninja Ramen, Tiger), I was further tantalized by online mentions of some of their unusual (at least in Houston) Japanese appetizers and entrees.

See, for example, the chasoba, buckwheat noodles infused with green tea and served cold with a tangy dipping sauce, or the sumptuous maitake mushrooms sauteed in butter. The agedashi tofu is delicious and reminiscent of a tater tot for its slightly squishy, every crispy texture and potato flavor (thanks to an exterior coating of this vegetable starch). Finally, carnivores will be particularly wowed by the sumptuous negima-yaki fatty beef pounded thin coiled around soft scallions.

It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss thoroughly all the sushi, nigiri, sashimi options (pider rolls, spicy tuna, salmon, scallops, etc.) at Teppay though if forced to generalize via a few adjectives, the words “fresh,” “familiar” and “unremarkable” come to mind.

But with regards to the ramen, that final descriptor cannot be applied. Although the selection is limited to tonkotsu ramen, it’s probably a good thing as you’ll have trouble convincing yourself to try any other type after supping on its gelatinous, cloudy broth that barely covers a large helping of noodles, pork, and soft-boiled egg.

Consider terminating your meal with an order of sasadongo, emerald green mugwort-flavored mochi dumpling stuffed with red beans wrapped equally brilliant verdant bamboo leaves.

Two operating details worth noting about Teppay. First, they close most days at the conclusion of lunch (2pm) and then reopen for dinner (6pm). I know it’s increasingly seen as a fundamental American right to be able to eat lunch or brunch up until 3pm on weekends; this liberty, however, cannot be exercised at Teppay, which is only open in the evening on Saturday and closed entirely on Sunday. So plan ahead if you’re dead set on ameliorating that hangover from Friday night with some noodles. Second, the restaurant is small, intimate, and tables seat at most four people; large birthday dinner parties are probably best held elsewhere.

Teppay Japanese
6516 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77057

Joanna O'Leary

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