Japanese curry shops were absent from the city before 2008. Now Muracci's feeds the hungry FiDi lunch crowd, while Volcano tends to the needs of the Richmond neighborhood. And let's not forget the JapaCurry truck, roaming the Bay.
Starting this week, there's a new kid on the block: Kare-Ken, which is Japanese for curry house. Last Friday night, SFoodie hit the Tenderloin to attended a preview.
The tiny 8-seat eatery is located at 525 Jones Street, just a few doors west of Shalimar and Dottie's True Blue Café, where its modern facade with vertical wooden slats stands out among the gritty TL storefronts.
Both the veggie curry and meatballs versions were not available during the preview. So we ordered a traditional pork katsu curry and a house specialty, dry beef curry. The curry is slightly sweet, and you can specify mild or how spicy you want it.
All dishes are served with a homestyle pickled cabbage with raisins, which replaces the typical factory-made fukujinzuke (red pickled veggies) found elsewhere. The beef curry included a boiled egg, and additional toppings (egg, corn, tempura onion rings, seasonal veggies) are available for $1-$2.50 more.
Our food order hit the spot. We polished off the meaty ground beef curry in no time. And the katsu was crisp and tender, as it should be. There's nothing better than hot comfort food in a cold night.
The staff told SFoodie that they're vying for the evening and late-night crowd, so they'll be open for dinner only. As business develops, longer hours will be added, and they might consider lunch in the future.
The official opening day is today, Thursday October 20th, 5:30-10:30 p.m.