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I have always enjoyed a good curry. While studying in Bordeaux, France, a fellow Japanese student cooked up a Japanese curry dish for us for dinner. I remembered her getting out something that looked like a large chocolate bar, except that it was a lighter brown color, and proceeded to break it into pieces into the pot. It was the first time trying Japanese curry.  The taste was quite different from that of Chinese curry; aside from the color being brownish, the flavor was more complex, more rich, and not as spicy.

From time to time, in order to satisfy my cravings for curry, I would order a small plain curry with rice, as a side dish to other food orders inside the Mitsuwa Marketplace. I had wanted to try the Coco Ichibanya since its opening a couple years ago. But for one reason or another, I kept putting it off. I was finally able to convince a friend to go with me yesterday.

I got there around 12:25pm, the restaurant was not as busy as I had expected. I had some questions regarding the menu, and the waiter was able to explain everything clearly. I decided on the Okura & Tofu with reduced amount of rice (150g) for a dollar off the normal price of $6.99. My girl friend ordered the Spinach with brown rice for a dollar more.

The food arrived rather fast. I was a bit annoyed at how small my plate was even though I did order less rice; I thought the plate size would remain the same with just less rice on top. With the smaller plate, I felt I was getting less okra and tofu and sauce. I also thought my friend’s plate size was smaller too, in comparison to the plates on the other diners’ tables surrounding us, and she had ordered the regular size.

I felt better upon eating the curry. The okra and tofu were cooked just right, with both having almost identical level of softness. I loved the sliminess from the okra mucilage. I had ordered the “level 2” spiciness, and I was happy with the decision since the spiciness did not overpower the rich flavor of the curry from all the other spices. I also piled thfukujinzuke (japanese pickles) onto my curry since it tasted so good.

I was satisfied with meal despite the initial dismay of the portion size. I would probably try the brown rice next time. The price is a tad high in relationship to what I got.

Coco Ichibanya:  2455 Sepulveda Blvd. Ste. C, Torrance, CA 90501  Phone: (310) 294-5315