Go Go Curry is, as of this writing, the best Japanese curry available in the U.S. Yes, perhaps someone will dethrone Gorry the gorilla from his perch one of these days. For now, if you visit New York City, you've got to make the pilgrimage. Luckily, it's not hard to find -- just a few blocks away from Times Square waits truly authentic, absolutely delicious Japanese curry.
What makes a trip to Go Go so worthwhile isn't just the food itself, the amazing deep brown sauce and perfect katsu. It's that stepping into the place is like being transported from Manhattan to Tokyo. Inside, it looks just like Go Go Curry's many Tokyo branches -- handwritten signs and newspaper clippings on the walls, pictures of ballplayer Hideki Matsui (his number, 55, is read go-go), and all kinds of other colorful decorations.
The menu itself, just like a Tokyo curry joint, allows you to select how large a plate of curry and rice you want, and lists all the standard toppings. It's cheap -- just $5 for the standard plate, and $7.50 for katsu curry. There are also some batshit crazy menu items: the Grand Slam Curry ($12.50) has a tonkatsu, sausage, shrimp, and hard-boiled eggs, and the absurd World Champion Curry ($25) has all that times two.
Thus, Go Go Curry is a cut above the usual places that serve Japanese curry in the U.S. Some of them do have fine food, but they don't perfectly replicate the curry experience. They don't love curry like Go Go loves curry.
But just loving curry isn't enough; you have to serve a good plate of it. And in every way, Go Go Curry does just that. The katsu, rice, and sauce are perfectly proportioned and artfully laid out in the oblong metal bowl. The sauce is rich, creamy, perfect. I recently was told exactly why it tastes so familiar to me -- Go Go Curry, it turns out, is based in Kanazawa, where I ate curry for a year at school, and the sauce is in the same style as the deep brown amazing stuff they served in the Kanazawa University cafeteria.
You don't need to have eaten in Kanazawa, however, to appreciate Go Go Curry's masterful take on the dish. Just go.
Go Go Curry
273 W. 38th St. (at 8th Avenue) New York, NY 10018
Hours: Mon-Sun 10:55 AM - 9:55 PM
Toppings Available: Tonkatsu, chicken katsu, fried shrimp, sausage, fukujinzuke, rakkyo, boiled egg, cheese, natto
Spice Levels: None (see review)
+ This is Japanese curry as it is meant to be
+ Authentic atmosphere
+ Great prices, lots of customization options
- If you want it spicier, you have to do it yourself
Verdict: Go Go Curry is the gold standard by which all other Japanese curry in America must henceforth be judged.