Norikonoko Curry Report
I ordered the signature japanese curry stew and was highly disappointed to find that was simply curry soup or curry gravy. I kid you not, there were 3 bottlecap sized pieces of pork in the "stew" and nothing else of substance. This was a $10 dish. I must have looked disgruntled because a woman with an apron (the owner, i assume) came over and checked on us, and she explained that's how she makes the curry. She simmers it with carrots, onions, potatoes, (none were found) and pork. She also explained that big chunks of pork in the stew would not be her recipe/style.
What? We were there late-ish, so I'm thinking she might have ran out and tried to stretch it. Has anyone else eaten the curry there?
I have never been to Norikonoko, but from what you have described it does sound like what you were served was a typical Japanese-style curry. If they are using the English word "stew" on the menu, I agree that this may be misleading customers unfamiliar with Japanese curry, which, yes, is more like a gravy. And charging $10 seems a little high, though I haven't noticed how much curry dishes are at other Japanese restaurants. Japanese have adapted a number of "foreign" dishes to their own ways and this is one of them. Another is gyoza, which are pretty different from Chinese potstickers on which they're based. And ramen is a whole other story. :-)
$10 for Curry??? That sounds very expensive. But then again, Norikonoko has always been regarded as an expensive place to get good home-style food amongst us Japanese transplants.
I make curry at home and it has chunks of carrots, potatoes, and onion, as well as some kind of meat in it and whatever else floats my boat. That's more of the typical 'home-style' curry. On the other hand, a lot of Japanese-curry shops in Japan have curry with very little visible veggies. Most frequenly, though, these have a giant piece of ton-kastu on it to make it Katsu-curry. Your version with 3 bits of meat for $10 sounds rather thin, even or JPN standards.
Yuzu in San Mateo has a curry special that my friends like quite a bit. I wonder what that's like...
I hardly ever get curry at Japanese restaurants simply because it's so easy to make at home. They are all made with the packs of S&B or Vermont anyways.
Norikonoko is not a cheap restaurant, but it's excellent for more homestyle Japanese dishes that you don't find in more typical restaurants.