Eat This Now: Katsu Curry at Curry House CoCo Ichibanya

A curry beachhead.
A curry beachhead.
Edwin Goei

At Curry House CoCo Ichibanya, curry is the lifeblood, the fuel, the liquid of choice. They have oceans of it ready in different spice levels, in shades that range from bright gold to caramel brown, but it all essentially comes from the same formula--a punchy blend of cumin and other spices that hints of India, but is all Japanese.

I ate here when it first opened years ago and wasn't initially impressed by the service. It took forever to get an order. But things have changed since then. They have electronic server-summoning buttons at the tables. This time, I didn't need it. The food came out quick, plentiful, and still roiling hot.

Despite the astronomical combinations you can order, the kitchen has it all under cruise control. Along with the spice level, you choose whether you want actual meat in the gravy or maybe some okra or corn. The options that exist to customize what goes into your liquid gold is more than what Pizza Hut offers in toppings. The result: a gut-busting plate of food, the curry gravy lapping the beachhead of white rice.

What distinguishes one plate from another is the protein. The tonkatsu crunches with a breading so pristinely crisp you almost don't dare let it near the sauce. The gnarled pieces of chicken karaage you almost want to immediately drown in it. And did I mention you can even specify how much rice you want? The temptation is to go with the smallest portion possible. But believe me: with so much of that curry to go around, you'll need more than you think.

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