One of my favorite dishes is curry rice. I'm not talking about the curry you'll find at an Indian restaurant, although that's delish as well. I'm talking about Go!Go! Curry!, a Japanese curry restaurant that also serves as a shrine to Yankees designated hitter Hideki Matsui. Matsui is such hero that the restaurant is named after his jersey number, 55. Go is Japanese for number five, so Go! Go! is a little play on words, which the Japanese are fond of doing. (Technically, however, fifty-five in Japanese is actually go juu go, but I'm not going to let semantics get in the way of a good story.)
Marked by a yellow awning bearing a picture of a gorilla, the Tokyo chain is located in an unassuming building in Midtown Manhattan at 273 W. 28th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Hours of business serve as further tribute to Matsui: 10:55am until 9:55pm, seven days a week.
The order counter and menu of Go! Go! Curry in NYC.
The counter at Midtown Manhattan's Go! Go! Curry. The walls are adorned with articles about the store and its Tokyo flagship, autographed pictures of Hideki Matsui - including a tally of his home runs for the season - and lessons on how to say basic phrases in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
My order on this night is a big ol' slab of breaded pork cutlet with a boiled egg and shredded cabbage on the side. Underneath the pork is a healthy portion of rice with divine curry sauce. The portion size is the Walk, the smallest size available.
Marc's meal was the Single, a larger helping of pork and rice. It's a lot of food. I can't imagine being hungry enough to consume the Double, Triple, Home Run or Grand Slam portions offered by Go! Go! Curry. (Get the recurring baseball theme?)
Go! Go! Curry isn't just about baseball and panko-encrusted meat. It combines ukiyo-e, the venerated Japanese cultural icon, with humor. (I'm giving the native Japanese speakers at the restaurant a pass on the incorrect grammar. Isn't that nice of me?)
A counter at the Go! Go! Curry in the Shibuya district of Tokyo.