I'd like to imagine one day being part of a Curry Club. A club where curry fans hang out, eat, and discuss curry from all parts of the world. We would be ambassadors to curry, I particularly to that of the British inspired Japanese Karee Raisu...
We may be critical of our curries, after all we have eaten many, but most hours are spent taking turns provocatively expressing our favorites. And of the ones we are less fans of we exercise expert constructive curry criticism. Because we are curry diplomats that want to spread the great word of how curry can make your life a better place.
A typical list of one's great curry experiences can be long. The comforting flavors of your mother's curry, school cafeteria curry, curry made over a campfire, curry in a classy Ginza or Asakusa Yoshoku restaurant, curry from a Kombini microwaved and eaten with a plastic spork, and even the sensation of pouring that favorite retort pack curry onto a fresh mound of steamed rice. All joyous occasions.
Of these my personal made up subcategorical description of Mitsuwa Torrance's Curry Club is what I call Retro Amusement Park Curry. A whole nostalgia inducing genre for Japanese curry fans on its own. Come take a seat with me along the counter for the full experience. Don't be shy, the stares you may feel are all imagined. I order the Curry Rice with Hamburg Steak.
Decisions, decisions.. I went for the jugular - Option B. Despite being previously made and reheated, the extra large Japanese Hamburg patty was actually quite good. A classic tender and flavorful Aibiki blend of Pork and Beef with fine minced sauteed onions, other small amount of fillers and spices. The curry is fairly straight forward but medium rich and surprisingly satisfying. I remember the price being around $8.50-ish but was a good sized serving. A Radiused Corner fully supports Curry Club in all their (unintentional or not) retro amusement park curry ways. In fact I deemed it worth a Warm Fuzzies label tag.
Curry Club (In Torrance Mitsuwa Market Food Court), 21515 Western Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501 [NOW CLOSED]
Oh, CoCo Ichibanya Torrance. Maybe I just expected too much of you.
While not seeing the special Chunou Sauce on the tables may not have been too much of a surprise, not offering Menchi Katsu on your infamous long list of curry toppings certainly was.
But the biggest deflating experience was how it didn't take a supertaster to notice that the curry rue lacked the deep savory koku and umami flavors of what is offered in Japan. In less fancy terms it tasted thinned out.
The chicken katsu was of skinless breast meat. But it was surprisingly much more moist and tender than many I've had. The $0.60 for additional heat I felt really wasn't worth it where it seemed it could've been easily achieved by sprinkling the free ground hot pepper blend on the tables.
Although nowhere near how Yoshinoya readjusted their concept to "American Tastes," I'm sad to report our first branch of CoCo-Ichi here in mainland U.S. is not exactly a true replica of Japan's. They're not bad, just not as great. I'll be rationing my retort packs of theirs from my last trip a little tighter.
We so could've been amazing BFFs mang!
CoCo Ichibanya, 2455 Sepulveda Blvd Ste C, Torrance, CA 90501