Curry is increasingly becoming an easy-to-find dish at restaurants across Los Angeles, but it may not be common knowledge that there are different types that hail from various countries, from India to Thailand to Japan.
In Japan’s case, curry has risen to the top of the culinary tier and is a popular choice for many.
Given its recent popularity, it is no wonder that a Japanese curry eatery – Hurry Curry of Tokyo – has a growing presence in West L.A.’s very own “Little Osaka” in the Sawtelle neighborhood.
Best of all, Hurry Curry offers a happy hour special that makes for the perfect opportunity to try both Japanese curries and drinks at some unbeatable prices.
However, before Japanese curry could even be considered as a convenient happy hour option in a metropolitan city, the cuisine underwent an interesting history.
Known for its roux base and slow-cooked herbs and spices, the style of Japanese curry was initially introduced by the British army during the Meiji Revolution in the 19th century. The widespread love of this food has been long lasting, as people in Japan typically eat curry at least once a week.
In fact, the catalyst behind the establishment of Hurry Curry is the reason that one of the restaurant owners sought to create the version of the curry he enjoyed as a child growing up in Japan.
As a businessman in the U.S., he wound up teaming up with two restaurant owners in Santa Monica in an effort to re-create his favorite meal in Los Angeles, resulting in the grand opening of Hurry Curry on Sawtelle Blvd. in 1989.
Hurry Curry has come a long way since then, and although its happy hour specials have been offered for about a decade, the restaurant continues to create new selections for its diners. General manager Grace Kim said there are a number of selections on Hurry Curry’s happy hour menu.
“We offer $3 appetizers, $3 saketinis (a fusion of sake and a martini), and $3 bottled beers Mondays through Fridays from 3 pm to 6 pm,” Kim said. “I’ve been here since the start of happy hour about 10 years ago.”
Hurry Curry also offers a late night happy hour seven days a week: Sunday through Thursday from 9 pm to 10 pm and Friday and Saturday from 10 pm to 11 pm.
“Some of our most popular happy hour foods are calamari, fried chicken, and the gyoza (dumplings),” Kim said. “Our saketinis are very popular as well.”
Currently, there are two relatively new special deals available at Hurry Curry: the sake specials and the “meal deals.”
The sake specials feature a small hot sake for $4, a large hot sake for $7, and a sake bomb (a small hot sake and a small Kirin beer) for $6.
“We started the meal deals a few months ago,” Kim said. “We offer customer favorites for just $7.95, including the chicken, beef, and pork cutlet curry and a half-sized chicken pasta. The half chicken pasta is one of the more popular meal deals because it’s a good portion for one person.”
Some of the pastas on the Hurry Curry menu are examples of a Yoshoku dish, which adopt Western and other foreign foods and giving them a “Japanese spin,” like pasta with Asian sauces/toppings and fries with curry. The restaurant staff continues to concoct and update its own Yoshoku recipes.
In the end, it is of course the curry that stands as the signature element of the restaurant.
“Our curry is traditional, but it’s also a special custom blend,” Kim explained. “We use a richer gravy, so it’s not what you would find in typical boxed curry. We import it all from Japan.”
Hurry Curry has made much more accessible the chance to indulge in Japanese cuisine in a local setting, as it offers a daily opportunity to experience authentic curry and sake at happy hour prices.
Hurry Curry of Tokyo is located at 2131 Sawtelle Blvd. in West Los Angeles. For more information, visit 310.473.1640 or visit hurrycurryoftokyo.com.
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