Sunday, September 14, 2008

Go! Go! Curry!

A restaurant with three exclamation marks in its name had better have the goods to warrant such emphatic punctuation. Fortunately, Go! Go! Curry! has Japanese fast food worth the hype. At least for some people. 

"Go" means "5" in Japanese, and the double "Go" refers to New York Yankee Hideki Matsui—#55. The restaurant even incorporates Matsui's jersey number into its opening hours: 10:55 am to 9:55 pm, and 55¢ specials are offered on days when he hits a home run. The triple "!" indicates just how enthusiastically the place regards the left-fielder. Not surprisingly, baseball shows up on the menu. Instead of small, medium, large, or extra-large portions, diners can order a "walk," "single, "double," or "triple." 

The curry is Japanese-style, which means it's savory, not spicy. It looks like brown gravy and is served with rice, cabbage, and a choice of panko-encrusted pork, chicken, or shrimp.

My friend Lidia is in town from Chicago with her husband, Sean, to see the Bronx Bombers play some of their final games in Yankee Stadium. We thought G0! Go! would be a fitting place to have dinner together. 

Lidia is a talented designer and her Evil Kitty clothing line is stylish, playful, and sexy. Toyota recently asked her to design fashion that represents the concept behind their new i-Real, a "personal mobility device." They flew her to their headquarters in Japan, and one of my first questions was, "What did you eat?" She's a vegetarian, and I wondered how many non-seafood options she had. She told me it was challenging, but her hosts went out of their way to accommodate her. 

If Lidia could find veg-friendly food in Japan, I figured she'd score at NYC's Go! Go! Curry! However, she didn't even make it to first base.

Lidia: Hi, I'd like something vegetarian.

Employee: OK! You'd like the chicken?

Lidia: Um, no chicken. I'm vegetarian.

Employee: How about the shrimp? It's breaded.

Lidia: No, thanks.

Employee: Oh. All the curry has pork in it.

Lidia was a good sport and didn't complain while the rest of us tucked into our plates of porky curry. She ended up with a dish of rice and fermented soybeans, certainly not deserving of any exclamation. However, Adeet and I gave our curries a 3-! rating. I had mine with shrimp dolloped with mayonnaise, a boiled egg, and fukuzinzuke-red daikon pickles-which added a tangy crunch. This is considered comfort food in Japan, which makes sense to me. It isn't pretty, but it's tasty.

Adeet is already planning a lunchtime curry run, and I'll happily join him. But the next time Lidia comes to town, we'll have to find a place enamored of a vegetarian ballplayer.

Lidia and I are both wearing Evil Kitty designs. 
I've just enjoyed some curry. She hasn't.

273 W. 38th St. • NY, NY
photos by Adeet Deshmukh


His Holiness Soooooooo Taguchi! said...

This is close enough to my current job that I will pay them a visit, perhaps as early as tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

thank you very much for the article. as a vegetarian & curry fanatic who just started working in the area, i was curious to give this place a try. i now know to steer clear.