Someone named Suzy from the Diamond Jamboree offices seems to know I keep a close eye on the goings-on there. For the past two years or so, it has been ground zero for just about every other new restaurant to debut in Irvine.
The last one I got wind of was a Taiwanese noodle-soup shop, which has yet to debut. And with that discovery, I had honestly thought all the spaces in DJ were gobbled up. But Suzy had news that blew away that assumption: "Just wanted to give you a heads-up that Coco Ichibanya has signed a lease for unit 115, between Yogurtland and the yet-to-open Chef Hung Taiwan Beef Noodle at 117."
First of all, I hadn't realized that there WAS any space between Yogurtland and the planned Taiwan beef noodle joint. Like Harry Potter's Platform 9¾, it seemed to come out of nowhere and confirms that Diamond Jamboree is apparently the clown car that disobeys the laws on conservation of mass.
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In any case, the Coco Ichibanya chain started in 1978 in Nagoya, Japan, opening its first mainland-U.S. store in Torrance last month. Virtually every dish starts with rice occupying exactly half the plate, the lapping surf of curry gravy cresting up the beachhead of white.
The ordering system allows you to customize the amount of rice, the spice level of curry and what protein or topping (ranging from quail eggs and cheese to classic tonkatsu) you want to bridge the two together.