Monday, July 19, 2010
For years I intended to try the take-out curry from the tiny shop in Azabu Juban with the yellow awning and the signboard shaped like a giraffe, hence the name (kirin = 'giraffe' in Japanese). Inside the proprietor-chef, a shy, slender man dressed in culinary whites, takes his food preparation very seriously.
Colorful jars of spices line the white walls shielding the kitchen from view (I am sure it is spotless). But through the house-shaped opening the curry king can be seen slaving over a hot stove. The menu, complete with color photos of all the options (there are only abut 7 or 8), sits on the counter but it is also posted on the plate glass window (photos included). In Japan, you can always tell a good restaurant by its plastic food: high quality reproductions portend good eats. If the same principle applies to photos, then we were in for a treat.
Finally, I tested my hypothesis last week. I ordered two different curries, bean and vegetable, plus spare ribs for the carnivore. Both curries were very good but the bean version was exceptionally tasty -- exactly as I had imagined it would be. The mixture of chickpeas, yellow lentils, kidney beans and a few green peas was not mushy, the sauce was a little thick but not too spicy (nor too bland) and the color scheme delivered visually. Perfect with fluffy, fresh-cooked koshihikari rice. Now I am planning to become a regular. Don't you just love it when this happens?