This is Japanese style curry with rice. If you hear curry and you think nostril singing heat and fragrant spices, you are thinking of Indian style curry. Japanese curry is different. Introduced from Indian, but adopted and adapted as their own. So widely is it consumed that some would argue that it is one of Japan’s national dishes. A wide variety of vegetables and meats are used to make Japanese curry. Though the basic ingredients are onions, carrots, and potatoes. For the meat: beef, pork, and chicken are the most popular. Below I will be writing about Katsu-karēc a breaded deep-fried pork cutlet served with curry sauce.

IMG_9170IMG_9163

Nakau, Shinjuku

Like most of their guests, I slowly wandered in. Using the coloured photos outside to help ensure my decision of stopping here for lunch. This was the first time I would be using one of the ordering machines on my own. With a little English included I was able to get as far choosing to dine in over dining out. Where I got stumped was during payment. The machine did not take 10000 bills, the equivalent of a $100 Canadian. Luckily a fellow diner saw my distress and helped me hail a server to guide me through my first solo machine ordering experience.

IMG_9162

I prefer human interaction during this process. The use of machines removed the personal element, but was probably very useful during busier times. It freed up a server to deliver orders and bus tables. With the machine you push buttons, make your selection, feed it a bill, then receive your change and a ticket. After you clam in your seat, the server comes to claim a portion of said ticket. This confirms your order and payment, its wording is then broadcasted to the kitchen through a quick shout, and concludes with them beginning to prepare your meal. The above process is as quick as the arrival of your food. At such places speeds is key. You have limited time, you want a quick and hot meal and cannot afford to wait, as seen by the fury in which patrons devour their meals. They were shovelling it in, and here I was taking my time, writing, enjoying, actually chewing.

IMG_9168IMG_9169

I choose a seat at the bar, closest to the door. It seemed like the place to be for those, like myself, who were here on their own. Although group style seating was available for multiples. I appreciate the fact that eating alone is common place and expected at certain places. Where in North America majority of dining out is reserved for an event and with others.

IMG_9164

Each station comes with the necessary assortment of eating implements, and any seasonings one may need. Though this was the first I have seen a help button. A red push was all that was needed to hail for help.

IMG_9165IMG_9166

Trying to hit up all the major Japanese cuisine types I choose the Curry chicken tonkatsu don. Crossing curry and katsu off my list. Though they serve a lot of the other major cuisine types too: udon, katsudon, and the sukiyaki-style beef bowl; all with a wide variety of sides. The curry was a sweet sauce coating carrots, lotus root, potato, and finely shredded chicken. Flavourful as is with just the rice. But as I mentioned above I wanted the most out of this experience and added on a piece of breaded pork. A popular pairing, but one that was not necessary. They were each great on their own, and could each be an entree. The pork was tender and its flavour paired well with the sweeten curry. I did appreciate it for its texture, giving crunch to an otherwise soft dish. Moistened semi sticky rice, smooth curry sauce, melted root vegetable, and starchy lotus root. The plate, also came with Japanese pickles, which seem to be a very common thing on most plates. With the option to scoop more on from a self serve jar at each eating station. Though the former was brown, the later the more common pink. I guess it was a good way to break up the taste and to change things up. But it over powered and really didn’t compliment my meal well. Towards the end I wished for more rice, this was a lot of curry and there was too much flavour, if possible. Or I just needed a better rice to curry ratio. I ended up fishing out ingredients, saturated heavy in curry sauce. Though the chilled cups of green tea and cold water provided did help with the above. I was left satisfied and very full with all the starches I ingested.

The washroom was a cramped space. A unisex stall that allowed one patron to relieve themselves while those just wanting to wash up, could in the sink situated outside. It was a larger more convenient sink with hand soap available.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
There was nothing really special about this one. Just a convenient meal at a more than convenient price. Everything on the machine was under 1000 yen, with one of the least inexpensive being 300yen. About $10 and $3 Canadian respectively. Don’t deny your cravings.