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Best Japanese Curry

What do you guys think? I've had a craving ever since Tokyo.

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  1. In Weller Court you can try "Curry House" - they have other locations, too. I believe they are sponsored by House Brand Foods - a good place to get a curry katsu!

    4 Replies
    1. re: So Ho La

      i would second "curry house" also ducks in san gabriel is good too

      1. re: So Ho La

        I have to second that as well, I have been going to the little Tokyo one since about 1993 and am totally and completely addicted to the Chicken Katsu Curry Extra Hot with Rice, and always get a Miso Soup and an Ice Tea. Damn I love it. I like Hurry Curry, but still like The Curry House better, but only the one in Little Tokyo. I have not liked the other locations I have tried as of yet.

        I do lament them moving to Ginger dressing instead of their house french dressing on the side salad though, as I have always loved it.

        I actually did a review of this place on my blog at: http://www.whaleofatale.net/wordpress...

        1. re: So Ho La

          Just had the chicken curry katsu at Curry House is Little Tokyo, and boy... it was delicious! Really satisfied my curry craving.

          For Curry House regulars, anything else really good there?

          1. re: Liquid Sky

            Honestly I always get Chicken Katsu Curry Extra Hot with Rice, Miso Soup and an Ice Tea, and make sure to get some hot oil to add at least a little spice to it. Delicious. Makes my mouth water!

        2. I like Ducks Curry on Las Tunas in San Gabriel. They have good katsu curry.

          5 Replies
          1. re: tissue

            another vote for ducks curry. i find it overpriced tho but it's reall good curry.

            1. re: lapchern

              Even though Ducks is ridiculously expensive, I've always felt there is something different/special about it that makes it worth the price over a Curry House or Hurry Curry. I can't pinpoint what it is exactly, but it just seems like CH and HC use a mass-produced, toned-down, generic version of curry.

              1. re: andytseng

                another huge vote for Ducks. echoing what above poster, there's just something about Ducks. easily the finest, as well as most expensive, katsu curry in LA.

                definitely puts CH and HC to shame. (and they serve booze!!!)

                1. re: TonyC

                  Adding Ducks to my list to try.

                  1. re: akalil5

                    we tried it last night and it was pretty good. i had the chicken katsu curry. The quality of the chicken was a bit questionable, but the curry was flavorful and had just the right amount of spiciness. The wife had the tempura bowl and she loved it. I haven't heard her rave about a dish like this in forever. I think she got addicted to the sauce they served on the tempura. it is definitely worth a try.

          2. Used to go to Hurry Curry on Sawtelle. Yummy but this was a few years ago. I make it myself now with the box mix. Easy!

            1. My vote would be Sawtelle Kitchen on Sawtelle in West LA. I like their curry (the actual sauce) better than at Hurry Curry, Blue Marlin or Curry House down the street. But with four places that serve curry within 2 blocks, you could have fun doing a taste test week.

              10 Replies
              1. re: igj

                I second Blue Marlin- there was a place in Torrance as well but can't remember the name-- another yoshoku resto..
                Does Sawtelle Kitchen still serve curry after changing everything?

                1. re: miffy

                  I haven't tried the curry at Blue Marlin, but the one at Sawtelle Kitchen is very good. The place in Torrance/Gardena is Bistro Laramie, which also makes a good curry. Both of these places make theirs from scratch (I'm assuming SK still makes it... haven't been there since the reopening). I'm not sure if any of the other places make curry from scratch either. But I'd like to know.

                  1. re: E Eto

                    my vote goes to Hurry Curry in Sawtelle or Curry House in Little Tokyo..

                    just don't go to the Hurry Curry in old town Pasadena...

                    1. re: chewingvampire

                      Curry House is like the McD's of curry. It's run by one of the largest Japanese curry brands, and it is consistent (I don't find much difference between the Little Tokyo, Sawtelle, or Torrance branches) and when you feel like a hankering for that flavor, it's a good standby. But I prefer places that put a little more thought and personality in their food. I haven't been to Hurry Curry in a long while so maybe I need to revisit them too, but I'd just rather have the good stuff at Sawtelle Kitchen if I'm nearby. Ditto Bistro Laramie if I'm near there.

                      1. re: E Eto

                        Totally agree about Curry House being a total chain place with chain taste. I remember when they first opened in Torrance in the 80's - now that was exciting because there weren't any places that served only curry. But House owns and operates it, so you can basically buy House branded curry pouches and serve yourself at home. The one thing I will hop in for though is their Curry-pan to go.

                        1. re: gomagoma

                          While it is a chain, I don't find the stores the same at all, nor do I find the House Foods Curry blocks to be anything like the Curry they serve there. I really only like the food at the Little Tokyo One, though I do have to admit you get less for your money than you used to. While the Curry portion has remained the same, you no longer have the choice of the French Dressing, and they are down to one pickled vegetable, when they used to have 3. They still do have their role back days though, when they go back to the original prices.

                          And yea, they Curry pan is pretty good, but I am always too full after the Chicken Katsu.

                          1. re: gomagoma

                            the curry at the restaurants and the pre-made pouches at the markets are different.

                            i'd like to warn if anyone is allergic to nuts or specifically "cashews", the sauce at the restaurants are made with it (according to the ingredients list on the menu). whereas the pre-made pouches say "peanuts" (something for those who are allergic to to note)

                            also for vegetarians, the menu says that the medium heat curry is made without animal fat.

                            personally i like the pre-made stuff from the store. like the taste more and it comes with chunks of veggies. at the restaurants it's mainly sauce plus bits of what you'd like. if you order vegetable it's like corn, bits of carrot and potatos, green bean, etc... i've found some peops don't like this and prefer their curry to be uh... heftier(?) in content

                      2. re: E Eto

                        Sawtelle Kitchen still has curry on the menu - now available in more comfortable digs.

                      3. re: miffy

                        Sawtelle kitchen still serves the best curry in town. They cook the sauce for 2
                        days. There menu is the same as before. With some nice additions.

                        1. re: loudenuff

                          Anyone ever try that curry/chicken place on 1st Street... not far from the CAL-TRANS building? I pass by it every day, and it looks decent.

                    2. Cafe Hiro in Cypress is Japanese-Italian-French restaurant that also serves up some pretty good curry. If you can picture a French bistro w/red-and-white checkered table clothes and some irreverent decorations in between, then you've got Cafe Hiro in a nutshell! An interesting place if youre looking for something out of the norm.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: poptisserie

                        I had the mushroom (yep) curry at Hiro, and it was excellent.

                        1. re: poptisserie

                          Hiro's is good for their osso buco which is my favorite. The place is always crowded and very small. Never tried his curry.

                        2. Bellyworth loves the curry at Hurry Curry on Sawtelle, it was better than Curry House across street (which was good).

                          1. West of downtown ... I like Yashima on Sawtelle.

                            In downtown ... I like Suehiro.

                            1. does anyone know a place in the Little Tokyo Union Bank building on the 2nd (?) floor- Youshoku restaurant- has curry, too...

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: miffy

                                I LOVE Japanese curry.

                                I think Hurry Curry is much better than Curry House. Plus, Curry House has been consistently upping their prices and downsizing their portions.

                                I've also had good curry at Sawtelle Kitchen and Blue Marlin, but I think Hurry Curry is the best on Sawtelle. The spinach and mushroom curry is excellent, as is the plain old chicken curry, which is amazingly tender.

                                1. re: voodoochild

                                  Just to second some thoughts here, I like HC better than CH too, but Pas location has random results, seems to be pushing the happy hour chicken 2 for 1 and drink specials. I believe curry sauce flavor varies even though they told me "that is not possible". (Note I always order it hot.) I used to go to the HC in Cypress, and liked better than the others but I only tried a couple others each once so I'm not being fair judge on that.

                                  Ducks is pricey but nice. I really miss Hiro Cafe, although not exactly in the Japanese fast food curry restaurant category, try their Osso Bucco, one of the best servings I've ever had. Small place though, used to get busy weekends when I lived in the neighborhood, but yummmm.

                                  1. re: MaryT

                                    I'm a big fan of the curry ramen at Ramenya on Olympic, a couple of blocks West of Sawtelle. It's an absolutely amazing taste sensation - one of those few items, like Langer's pastrami, that I couldn't imagine improving. They have other curry dishes as well, but I've never tried them.

                              2. Sadly, you won't find anything nearly as good as Tokyo in LA...

                                Curry in Japan is absolutely amazing...

                                My favorite curry (besides the ones cooked at home) believe it or not is at Sanuki Udon in the mistuwa food court...ask for their mini Kobe beef curry bowl

                                It's good

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ronnie_gaucho

                                  I've been wanting one of their mini bowls for ages... do you have to buy it with a soup or will they sell them to your seperately...


                                2. Give Hurry Up Curry in Woodland Hills a shot. They really try hard there and the cool, hip chef will come to your table to discuss your choices.


                                  Curry Up Cafe
                                  21912 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364

                                  1. Hands down the BEST curry in Los Angeles was at E&E Cafe in Northridge (I know this isn't helping). Unfortunately the owners retired, but fortunately they are making a cookbook. Everyone and their mamas knew about E&E in the valley. I've eaten there 3 times in one day. When they had their half off sales I would order 3 dinners to go!

                                    Something in their curry was extrodinary. It's on the sweeter side. Their cutlets were top notch, but it's the hamburger steak curry that knocked my socks off. You could order how spice 0-7 and for additional cost you could make it ridiculously spicy.
                                    I've pattern my chicken curry after their curry and it's pretty darn close. I can't wait for the cookbook!

                                    By default my favorite curry house is Curry House. While not nearly as good as E&E, their stone pot curries are pretty good as well as their rib eye curry. They have enough varities to keep it interesting. After CH I would have to rank Sawtelle Kitchen next. I don't know if it's the ambience or what but their curry seems more posh/frou frou. I don't really care too much for Hurry Curry as it's way overpriced for what you get.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: shimo

                                      I've noticed that curry house has extremely toned down there menu since I've first eaten there. Gone is my favorite - rib eye curry.

                                      1. re: shimo

                                        Fast forward 2 1/2 years from my post about E&E Cafe and how it was the best curry hands down, my new favorite is Blue Marlin.

                                        Read the other reviews of people raving about it. It's that good!

                                        Blue Marlin
                                        27590 Jefferson Ave, Temecula, CA 92590

                                      2. Curry house in little tokyo has the best japanese curry hands down.

                                        1. Since I didn't see it mentioned anywhere, as an FYI (and for those that can't handle too much of it (like me)):

                                          * Curry House uses MSG (and quite a lot of it) in their Curries.

                                          They even publicly print it in their ingredients list on their menus now. I find Curry House's curry to be really run-of-the-mill and very heavy. As others have said, it's run by the largest manufacturer of supermarket curry in Japan, and tastes that way.

                                          My vote would be for Blue Marlin in Santa Monica (on Sawtelle). It was recommended by a friend of mine from Tokyo when he visited here. It's really tasty, and they make their curry distilled / stewed from a variety of Fruits and Vegetables (and no MSG). It's a little more liquid than that thick, viscous stuff you find at Curry House, but that's because they also *don't* use Corn Starch / Flour to weigh it down (which is a plus, IMHO). Note, I haven't been there for over 1 year, but prior to that, it was great stuff! :)

                                          Duck's Curry in San Gabriel Valley also has a vote for their Curry quality. I agree with Velvet Elvis that the cut of Chicken they use could be better / meatier, but it was still good.

                                          Blue Marlin
                                          2121 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
                                          (310) 445-2522

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: exilekiss

                                            I love Curry House in Little Tokyo -- bummer about the MSG, though. Seriously... does MSG really make stuff taste that much better??

                                            1. re: exilekiss

                                              Blue Marlin also has the advantage that you can get spicier curry than most other places serve up. The taste of their curry seems to have changed quite a bit over the years, though. (Probably confirms that they make their own) Years and years ago, when they first opened, they used to advertise that they used some particular brand that nobody else in the area was using (I forget what brand... "curry station" or something) Later on, they stopped advertising that, but the curry got quite spicy! (it's also very rich)
                                              Over the years they've been up and down in quality (various Japanese-language publications in the area have tracked their ups and downs), but lately things seem to be back on track. I don't know for sure that they have no MSG, but for sure it's not the same gloopy curry that a lot of the other places use. They make their own potato croquettes, too..

                                              1. re: another_adam

                                                Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Just went to Weller Court cause I was craving chicken katsu curry. CURRY HOUSE is now closed SATURDAY and SUNDAY??!! What's up with that? Don't they want my money??

                                              2. re: exilekiss

                                                Hmm, I wonder if the MSG is what makes my gums tingle? Curry House always makes my gums tingle afterward, but usually my body reacts badly to MSG, but doesn't at all from the Curry House.

                                              3. I can't remember the restaurant's name or the chef's name. But there is an Indian restaurant with a Japanese chef. People mentioned that a lot of the places mentioned below are like the fast food curry equivalents. This place aspired to fine dining. I don't know if any chowhounds can pick up the scent.

                                                1. I really like the curry at Foo-Foo Tei a lot. To quote ExileKiss:

                                                  "I ordered the classic Katsu Kare- (Curry Pork Cutlet) dish to see what the fuss was all about. The plate arrived and looked like a nice, thick typical Curry. But that's where the comparisons ended. The *aroma* floating upwards was the first sign that something was different. You could actually smell some exotic, exciting spices far beyond the typical Japanese Curry dish in So Cal. I gently scooped up some of the Curry and some fresh, steaming Gohan (Rice) and took a bite...

                                                  Notes of Cumin, fresh-grounded Garam Masala(?), and a flavor explosion of such complexity that I've never experienced in a Japanese Curry before. This is easily the Best Japanese Curry in L.A. / O.C. (and I don't like making hyperbolic statements)! Outstanding! (^_^)

                                                  I was so shocked by this that I had to ask Chef Murakami how this came about. It turns out that the one dish that Murakami-san likes more than Ramen is Kare- (Curry). He said he *dreams* about Curry and sometimes after work, he thinks about his Curry recipe and gets hungry thinking about it. (^_^) So as a result of his love of Curry, he created this current recipe on the menu which took him 7 *YEARS* to perfect(!). That's dedication."


                                                  Foo-Foo Tei
                                                  15018 Clark Ave, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

                                                  Garam Restaurant
                                                  600 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

                                                  306 Rosecrans Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

                                                  8730 Santa Monica Blvd Ste F, West Hollywood, CA 90069

                                                  1. I have to put in a word for the Curry Udon at Sanuki Sandou. Delicious, great beef/curry broth, not too heavy, tender beef.