CoCo Ichibanya serves Japanese-style curry, which is much less interesting than authentic Indian curry because of the lack of variety. Japanese curry is basically rice under a slightly-goopy brown sauce that’s smooth with nothing to break up the texture, plus a fried breaded pork cutlet. Variations include covering the rice with a very thing omelette, meat substitutions, and a smattering of veggies that range from mushrooms to potatoes and carrots to bell peppers, and maybe cheese if that’s your thing. Although it’s predictable, Japanese curry is delicious. The curry is richly spiced and comforting, and tonkatsu (the breaded pork cutlet) is one of the best ways to eat pork. The rice is prepared in a respectable Japanese style.
I got the basic katsu curry. The portion was pretty large so I took some of it home – a mistake, because the rice doesn’t hold up to the liquid and it became gross.
The tonkatsu was breaded and fried perfectly and the individual rice grains held their shape well. This type of breading is so crispy because of the panko crumbs used in the batter – those are the sharp little bits.
My friend Kaavya enjoyed her vegetable curry. Kaavya is Indian and thought the spices were used well. However, I tried the vegetable curry another time and thought the carrots and potatoes were terrible. They obviously weren’t cooked with the curry, were tasteless, and had a texture like mushy tissues.
I liked how we could select how spicy we’d like our curry, but I chose a 4 out of 5 (with 1 being the least hot and 5 being the hottest) and it wasn’t very spicy. So if you like heat, you should go for a 5. And if you want authentically hot curry, you shouldn’t be looking for Japanese curry.
We could also choose how much rice we wanted, with discounts and upcharges for different portions.
I watched orders come out as we waited for our food. That omelette with cheese is hiding the rice, and it’s waiting to be paired with curry.
Each table has a small pot (brown lids) containing a Japanese pickle mix (tsukemono). It’s mostly pickled radish, with some lotus root and other unidentifiable plant. The sweet crunch is a great accompaniment to the richness of the curry.
Pretty good for some late-night fast food.