Japanese comfort food in Sawtelle Japantown.
Uh-oh. I’ve been made.
When I come to a restaurants intent on writing a review, I usually don’t tell them who I am. This time, the folks at Hurry Curry of Tokyo knew I was coming.
Thing of it is, you tell someone you’re a food writer, someone in a restaurant is liable to give you free food.
And that’s a bad thing? I can hear you asking.
No. Free food is never bad thing, but the intent of Is It Any Good is to give you, a view on how a restaurant works and operates during an average visit. Safe to say, not to many average visits end up with you getting free food.
But this is a special occasion. I’m here having lunch with Rina Yano, the Publisher of Sawtelle Japantown. (I have mentioned them before, haven’t I?) And we’re here at Hurry Curry of Tokyo celebrating their anniversary. Ten years in operation. One of the oldest continuing businesses in Sawtelle Japantown.
So I’m sure you’re looking at the name of the restaurant, Hurry Curry of Tokyo, and I’m sure some of you are saying to yourself…Curry…Japan? Really?
Well, believe it or not, Curry is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. According to Wikipedia:
Curry was introduced to Japan during the Meiji era (1868–1912) by the British, at a time when India was under their administration. The dish became popular and available for purchase in supermarkets and restaurants in the late 1960s. It has been adapted since its introduction to Japan, and is so widely consumed that it can be called a national dish.
So needless to say, the adaptations have made Japanese Curry taste differently than what you’d expect from Indian Curry, and that’s okay. Some adaptations work, and some don’t, and what I’ve had of Japanese Curry really works.
The restaurant itself, Hurry Curry of Tokyo, is pretty causal all things considered. Aside from some nice wall art, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve wanted into a nice Pizza joint. But atmosphere and decor are not what you’re here for. You’re here for some good ol’ fashioned Japanese comfort food, and good ol’ fashioned Japanese comfort food is what you’ll get.
The Waitstaff are friendly and energetic. If you’re wandering in for the first time, curious about Japanese Curry, they’re available to help, but for me, I’d say don’t be afraid to dive in. You know the components, good Pork Cutlets, Chicken, Spaghetti. You may just not used to seeing them in this configuration.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: There’s a lot of good stuff I’d like to try here, but I saw the words “Pork” and “Cutlet” and that was pretty much that.
But to start, we also got the Tofu Salad “Hiyayakko”, which is sliced firm Tofu sprinkled with a mixture of diced bell pepper, onion and radish, garnished with daikon sprouts and drizzled with special sweet soy vinaigrette. This was a nice light kick off to the meal.
After that, my Classic Croquettes arrive. These are two patties of mashed Russet Potatoes, diced onions, and lean Ground Beef, encrusted with a crunchy Panko coating and quickly fried. served piping hot with Tonkastu sauce. These were lovely, though huge. The Croquettes reminded me of Cuban ones, but these were much bigger, Hamburger Patty sized big. The Croquettes plus the Tonkastu is fabulous, but fills you up faster than you think.
Right after that, a small snack-sized salad arrived with the House Vinaigrette dressing.
Needless to say, I had trouble finishing off my Pork Cutler Curry because…man, this is a lot of food.
The Pork Cutlet Curry is a tender hand trimmed pork loin breaded in Panko bread crumbs and fried till it’s golden brown. And of course, it’s served a sweet plum curry, which is…you know…kind of the whole point. The Pork Cutlet was tasty, and the Curry made it more so. Still, for the uninitiated (of which I’m a member), the sensations send your brain scrambling in a bunch of different directions. You think Curry, and start to expect that savory, spicy taste on your tongue and get plum and sweet instead.
So let’s make this clear, Hurry Curry of Tokyo is doing it’s job right. You, Food Blogger man (that’d be me), need to sample more Japanese Curry so you can get good at this.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Not much to worry about. The only thing to remember, Japanese Curry is different from Indian Curry, and that the portion sizes are pretty generous.
PARKING: Like it’s neighbor Tatsu Ramen, and Kimukatsu, is located in a small strip mall with…what seems at first to be a plentiful barrage of parking, but…truth be told, the place is constantly busy with many other fine restaurants to take advantage of. The best…and truth be told, only thing to do is use their Valet service, which operates for all the establishments in that strip mall. The Service is free, and relies on Tips for the Drivers. Make sure you tip them well.
Hurry Curry of Tokyo
2131 Sawtelle Blvd.
West Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: (310) 473-1640
Sunday-Thursday: 11:00am – 10:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:00am – 11:00pm