There are two convenient locations serving the Yokosuka area: Honch Dobuita West (across Shoppers Plaza/Daiei) & Blue Street (across Yokosuka-Chuo Sta). After getting our fix on the obvious two choices, sushi & ramen, we decided to try the corner restaurant with the yellow & brown sign: Curry House CoCo Ichibanya. That was just about three years ago and now we’ve come to know and love this restaurant so well. On a weekday evening when I’m aimlessly staring into my fridge wondering what to cook for dinner, my son will suddenly shout out, “Let’s go to CoCo’s!” It’s as simple as that.
Not to be confused with COCO’s Bakery and Restaurant that migrated from the United States, CoCo Ichibanya opened its first restaurant in Nagoya in January 1978. Since then they’ve opened restaurants in all 47 prefectures in Japan and have expanded to overseas locations in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Hawaii & California. I have yet to try the one in Torrance, CA, which is near my hometown in the United States. But, when you’re wandering around in Japan and in the mood for curry, there’s a CoCo’s near you!
Did you know that CoCo Ichibanya has an official mascot? Well, at least in Yokosuka. His name is the “Masukudo Cocoichi” or “Masked Coco Ichi” and he even has a blog that you can follow here or like him on Facebook. If you’re lucky, he’ll pop into one of the restaurants like a super hero and dine with you for a bit. From what I gather online, he makes special appearances for various organizations and participates in mixed martial arts. But don’t worry; if you really want a picture with him before you leave Japan, I’ve seen him at the annual Yokosuka Curry festival held in May or at Verny Park during the New Year’s Eve festival.
The food. It is very simple to order and you can customize to your liking! In the menu book, first decide on your choice of meat, seafood or vegetable. There are plenty of yummy looking pictures so take your time; it may take you awhile. Next, select your curry sauce: pork, beef or hashed beef (pork is default). Then decide on the quantity of rice: 200g, 300g (base price), 400g, 500g, or 600g. Select your spice level: mild, regular, or levels 1 – 10. Finally, order add-ons or toppings like cheese, garlic bits, or eggplant if you need to make your plate a bit heartier. On the side, you can add naan bread (plain, cheese, or garlic). As rice is to curry, naan just completes the entire meal. If you think a smaller portion might be a better choice, try the Half Order. It includes a drink and you can still customize your dish. I personally prefer this size since I usually order a salad too.
If you have visitors in town, why not invite them out to try Japanese curry at CoCo's. They carry foreigner friendly menus, offer plenty comfortable seating, and on your way out you can purchase pre-made curry in vacuum-sealed bags that can be reheated in boiling water. The Honch Dobuita West location offers a validation ticket for free parking at Shoppers Plaza/Daiei across the street. Just be sure to show them your parking ticket. Open 7 days a week from 1100-2400. But they deliver, too (to Womble Gate if on-base quarters)! Call 046-829-0720. Are you a first-timer to curry & spice? Try this order: Chicken Cutlet Curry, 300g, Level 2, & Cheese Naan, ~ ¥1020. Enjoy!