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Friday, October 26, 2012

Coco Ichibanya Curry House

Recently I've been pretty stressed out and not wanting to cook a thing. Fast food wasn't doing anything but making me more sluggish and more uninspired. I needed some comfort food, stat! And nothing is more tasty and simple than kare raisu (カレーライス), or curry rice. So Mr. Mochi and I went to check out Coco Ichibanya Curry House, located at the Diamond Jamboree in Irvine, which is chock-full of all sorts of Asian American stores and restaurants.

Reading this blog, you know that Mr. Mochi is a huge fan of Japanese curry. For a white boy, he is quite the connoisseur of fried foods and rice smothered in gravy-like curry sauce. He was very keen on trying out a new curry place.

Coco Inchibanya first started in Nagoya, Japan, in 1978 and now has over 1200 restaurants in Japan, as well as many more internationally in places like China, Korea, and Thailand. Their first U.S. restaurant didn't open until 2011, and now there's three of them. Funnily enough, all three are in Southern California, all within 45 minutes of me!
Keema curry with naan bread

Coco Ichibanya has a unique menu, in that you can choose the quantity of rice and the level of spiciness in increasing levels. Unless you are super hungry, the normal amount of rice I think would satisfy (I had leftover with the normal portion), but you can order any quantity you want! Also fun is the mind-boggling array of topping choices, everything from the classic tonkatsu or beef/carrots/potatoes, to cream chicken, fried squid, or even sausages.

korroke curry!

Mr. Mochi had quite the time pouring over the menu before setting on chicken karaage (fried chicken, $7.49) curry with the spiciness bumped up a little. I went with the menchi katsu (メンチカツ, $8.99), which is a panko-crusted fried minced beef cutlet. Propped up on some rice and doused with their standard curry sauce, it was delicious: very moist with a perfect crunchy fried exterior.

We also tried the Keema curry with naan bread, something that was novel to both of us. Keema curry has ground meat mixed in with veggies, which gives it a heartier and meatier taste as well as as a chunky texture. I've had it in Indian samosas, but sampling the Japanese version was new. Compared to traditional Indian keema, this had more liquid and of course the sweeter Japanese spice profile similar to Japanese curry. This stuff is amazing, and you better believe I am going to try and make a similar recipe for my blog.

 You can even get multi-topping curry
Spice and Rice Size charts
All-in-all, Mr. Mochi and I enjoyed Coco Ichibanya so much, we brought friends back two weeks later to try some different dishes. Mr. Mochi got some fried gyoza thrown into the mix with the karaage, while I sampled the korroke (vegetable croquette) curry. Again, the curry was delicious, and the korroke had mashed potato that made for a little lighter fare than the menchi katsu. Paired with their small portion of rice, it was a hearty and delicious meal that was a perfect size for me.

Menchi Katsu Curry
Coco Ichibanya Curry House
2710 Alton Parkway Suite A-115
Irvine CA 92606
Coco Ichibanya Curry House on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

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