A bowl of shoyu tonkotsu ramen is among the offerings at Oni Ramen in Fort Worth. Oni chef-owner Jesus Garcia worked at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, a renowed ramen house near Seattle, in 2014 to learn the craft. Now Santouka reportedly plans to open a shop in Plano, in the food court of the soon-to-debut Mitsuwa Marketplace, a Japanese supermarket. (Leslie Brenner/Staff)

A bowl of shoyu tonkotsu ramen is among the offerings at Oni Ramen in Fort Worth. Oni chef-owner Jesus Garcia worked at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, a renowed ramen house near Seattle, in 2014 to learn the craft. Now Santouka reportedly plans to open a shop in Plano, in the food court of the soon-to-debut Mitsuwa Marketplace, a Japanese supermarket. (Leslie Brenner/Staff)

These are exciting times for ramen lovers in North Texas.  Last year, Teiichi Sakurai brought amazing bowls of Japan's favorite noodles to Dallas with his wonderful ramen shop, Ten — and even taught us how to slurp them properly.  And just a few weeks ago, talented chef Jesus Garcia, who made a splash a couple of years ago at Fort Worth's Little Lilly Sushi, opened his own ramen shop, Oni Ramen, in Fort Worth's West Seventh District. 

In the interim, other ramen houses have sprung up here and there, including Monta Ramen in Richardson, Wabi House on Lower Greenville in Dallas, Hanabi Ramen and Izakaya in Carrollton and Ramen Hakata in Addison. (Of those, Monta Ramen makes a particularly good bowl.) Meanwhile, a popular summer ramen series has been popping up with guest chefs at Top Knot

Now, Eater Dallas reports that Mitsuwa Marketplace — a Japanese supermarket and food court — is scheduled to open sometime before year's end in Plano, with Santouka as one of its stalls. A spokes man for Santouka, Akira Fukada, says the company plans to open the ramen shop a little later: February, 2017, "although with some luck, we hope to open sooner." 

I, for one, am excited, as I'm a fan of Santouka from way back: When I lived in L.A., I used to hop over to its stall in a Mitsuwa Marketplace for my ramen fix. In fact, it's probably the place where I first fell in love with ramen. Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold seems to love it, too: He included it on his list of top 10 ramen places in L.A. in 2013. 

If the new Plano Santouka is anything like the one in Santa Monica's Mitsuwa (and Fukada says that indeed is the plan),  it will be a walk-up stall where you order and pick up customizable bowls of tonkotsu (rich pork-bone broth) shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso and other ramens at the counter. Mitsuwa's Plano location, at 100 Legacy Drive, is very close to Jusgo (the pan-Asian supermarket that shares a shopping center with J.S. Chen Dimsum and BBQ and Little Sheep Mongolian Hot-Pot) and 99 Ranch Market on Spring Creek Parkway (whose neighbor is Fish House Family Cuisine). That's a lot of fabulous Asian supermarkets in close proximity.

If you can't wait till February to check it out, consider dashing to Fort Worth to check out the (sometimes spicy) creations of Santouka disciple Garcia. 

UPDATED Aug. 30, 2016.

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