Do you love Japanese curry but long for more heat in the otherwise-mild-mannered dish? The Japanese chain restaurant CoCo Ichibanya offers spice levels you can customize to your taste, all the way to a brow-sweating, nose-running level 10.
“Coming Soon” signs at the Diamond Jamboree Plaza in Irvine have trumpeted its arrival for months. Permitting issues have delayed the opening, and according to an employee at the Rowland Heights store, the opening date for Irvine is set for Nov. 25. Yup, that's the day after Thanksgiving, when everyone is too stuffed to eat and sleepy after getting up at 3 a.m. to shop the Black Friday sales.
After opening its first continental-U.S. location in Torrance in February, the company is securing a bigger beachhead in Southern California. The Rowland Heights location opened in September, and the Irvine store is the last of the initial U.S. introduction. Ichibanya USA Business Manager Katsuhiro Kawakami says the company plans to open 20 restaurants within the first five years, with locations based partly on how well the first three units are received by their communities.
CoCo Ichibanya, 2710 Alton Pkwy., Ste. A-115, Irvine; www.ichibanya.co.jp/english/index.html.