Q: How do you make Japanese curry taste even better?
A: [Invoking the manic spirit of Craig] YOU CAN'T, IT'S PERFECT, HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST OTHERWISE.
B: Add more curry.
C: Stick it in a casserole, top it with a raw egg and grated cheese, and bake it until the egg is set and the cheese is gooey and crisp.
It's a trick question, because all of these answers are correct. ...But especially C. Just look at this thing:
This is the baked curry from Curry-Ya in the East Village. Before I tried the baked curry, I thought of Curry-Ya as the place to go to if I wanted to ladle Japanese curry out of my own personal cast-iron pot onto my rice/meat however I please. This desire rarely presents itself. As much as I love being the master of a mini ladle—don't we all?—I'm quite content with eating curry that is already portioned out as a brown pool touching a mound of rice.
It wasn't until this past February when my friend Christine shared her baked curry with me that I found the real draw of Curry-Ya. For an extra $3.50, Curry-Ya will top your curry and rice with shredded cheddar cheese and a raw egg and bake it all into a mini-casserole of gooey-and-crisp, cheesy, eggy goodness. It goes a little something like this:
- Cheese and egg, nicely piled on top.
- Let the transformation begin.
- AND IN THE DRY HEAT OF DEATH'S HEAVY BREATHS, YOU SHALL BE REBORN.
- Ding, all done.
- Get in my mouth. There ya go.
- Cheese crust and the curry-soaked rice beneath.
The menu says the baked option excludes chicken and pork katsu, but I'm 99% sure they'll do 'em. However, since baked katsu would lose its crisp crust after being soaked in curry and topped with cheese, I think you're best off going with a non-katsu curry, like the Japanese classic (beef, potato, carrot, and pumpkin) I ordered.
The baked curry is pretty hefty. I ate half (leaving room for dessert—thinking ahead, you see, like the responsible adult I am) and saved the leftovers for the next day's lunch.
Anyone else a fan of baked curry? If you've never had it before, try it and let me know what you think. ...Or invite me so I have an excuse to eat more.