Dallas sadly looking at an empty plate.
My burnt shoyu ramen.
Dallas, digging in.
Burnt flecks on the spoon.
Burnt flecks on the bowl.
Gogyo is in a typical Kyoto machiya in a little side alley.
After taking the train back from Arashiyama, we went back to our hotel to rest for a while. I was beat from all the walking around we did, so I took a nap. Dallas did some research to figure out where to go for dinner.
Gogyo specializes in kogashi, or burned ramen, or “burnt,” as they have it on their menu. I did not really know what this meant, but I was ready to try it. Dallas was really looking for something he’d never had before, so we were both up for the adventure.
When we arrived, there were a few parties in front of us, waiting on a bench outside the restaurant. You needed to write your name and number in your party on a piece of paper at the front of the line. The restaurant is located in a small alley and that is where we lined up. The kitchen is in the front of the restaurant and there are windows. We started realizing what “burnt” meant when the whole kitchen would light up with flames and brighten the entire alley! Ohhh. Exciting!
We only had to wait about 20 minutes and then we were taken inside and upstairs. We were a little bummed that we couldn’t be seated at the counter to watch the chefs as they flambay the miso and shoyu, but it was a busy place and we were happy enough to try something new. We had to remove our shoes to sit in the traditional tatami area. Gogyo had the sunken in seating, though, which I prefer, because my legs and back get sore from doing cross legged for too long!
Dallas ordered the burnt miso ramen and I ordered the burnt shoyu ramen, so that we could sample each of their burnt offerings. They’re 850 yen ($8.50 USD) each and then you can choose toppings like pork, nori and chives, egg tempura, cabbage, flavored bamboo shoots, boiled eggs, and “splouts” (sprouts) for $1-2 each. We were surprised when we got our bowls of soup that you really could see the char all over in the bowl. The soup was BLACK. It’s hard to describe the flavors this creates. Somewhere in the middle of dinner we switched bowls to taste each other’s soup. Dallas really liked the miso and thought that the burning really intensified and deepened the flavor. I preferred the burnt shoyu. Dallas thought that the burnt shoyu just tasted burnt. haha. Switch the bowls back! We also got an order of gyoza that was SO good. I love gyoza, especially when it’s cooked perfectly like this. Slightly crispy on the outside. Moist and delicious inside.
I don’t know if Gogyo is The Best restaurant in Kyoto, but we really enjoyed it. The flavors were something we never had before and we really had fun trying something new. Definitely check it out if you’re in Kyoto.
Update: Dallas freaked when we went back to Tokyo and discovered somehow that there’s a Gogyo there! One day we went for lunch. The Tokyo restaurant is more upscale inside, but the menu was pretty much the same. The day we were there they told us they were all out of gyoza, though. Bummer! Also, wtf!? This was one of the few places that the waitress looked at Dallas and started speaking Japanese.