Apparently some place called The Lazy Ox downtown is a big deal or something. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t been, but supposedly the guy behind it,Â Michael Cardenas, is also a big deal. Such a big deal, in fact, that he took it upon himself to open another restaurant, called Fat Spoon. The new place is down in Little Tokyo and is conceptually a Japanese curry house. As a man with a fair amount of Japanese curry experience, I definitely wanted to check the place out, and it didn’t hurt that I had one of those Blackboard Eats 30% off printouts either.
We arrived for a late dinner on a Saturday night, but fortunately Fat Spoon keeps their doors open until midnight for hungry curry-lovers. With a group of people, we decided to go all-out, order a bunch of things and eat them family-style. This was pretty easy to do with the modest prices, and even with the vegetable choices that my foolish friends made, I felt like I was getting a fair share of meat.
But before I get into the mass of food, I feel the need to mention the beer I ordered with my meal. It was a Sapporo, which was the only beer they had on tap and when it arrived, it seemed to be lacking in bubbles. Upon tasting, the flatness was confirmed. Sapporo isn’t an especially great beer in the best of conditions, and being flat certainly didn’t help. We let the waitress know and she brought us a second round, which was only slightly better. It was a shame to have this as my first taste of the restaurant, and I hoped the real meal would make up for it.
It started with a round of jalapeno, cheese and curry fries, which was a strong start. The combination of flavors made it into a sort of Japanese poutine. Instead of gravy, there was curry, and instead of cheese curds there was shredded cheese, but the spiciness added a nice twist. Even bites without the actual jalapenos had a bit of a kick, which was nice. The fries themselves were thick-cut and crispy enough on the outside to survive the curry without coming out too soggy.
Next, I moved on to our two main curry dishes. The first was the beef curry, which was made with short rib meat. It looked awesome and tasted pretty good too. Yet, the spiciness that had been a part of the fries was lost in the regular curry, leaving me wanting a little more. Of course, Japanese curry is not known for being spicy like Indian is, and I could probably order it spicier in the future when I don’t have to share with spice haters. The meat was damn good and short rib was a nice change from the chicken cutlet I usually find myself eating with Japanese curry. I also tried a bit of the seafood curry, which had the same sauce, but a nice variety of invertebrates (shrimp, calamari, scallops and clams) swimming around in it. As not much of a seafood lover, I preferred the beef, but the seafood was definitely worthy.
For a fake dessert, we followed up our main courses with some curry pan. Pan means bread in Japanese and these were like crispy eclair donuts, but with curry in the middle. The panko crust that covered the pan gave them an awesome crunchy texture and the ground beef curry inside made them nothing short of awesome. They were a great way to close out a pretty tasty meal.
As a self-proclaimed Japanese curry expert, I was pretty happy with Fat Spoon. It doesn’t quite measure up to the standards set by Hurry Curry of Tokyo, but is definitely a solid establishment with good food for even better prices. Next time, though, I’ll pass on the beer and order my curry extra spicy.