Do you love Japanese curry and need to fix that jones in the eastern San Gabriel Valley? We told you this summer that CoCo Ichibanya was coming to Rowland Heights, and we just found out that location opened two months sooner than we expected, on September 28. Happy belated birthday, CoCo Ichi, we would have sent a cake if we knew sooner.
Coco Ichibanya is a chain with locations all over Japan, with the ability to customize the heat level just the way you like, from the mildest, little-kid level to a throat-searing level 10. The restaurant won't allow you to order the 10 until you swear you've previously experienced their level 5, which carries a decent level of heat from black and red pepper. In a town heavily studded with Korean and Chinese restaurants that don't hold back on the Scoville units, we expect they'll find lots of takers on that level 10.
The popular chain established its continental U.S. base of operations in Torrance, which has a large Japanese expat community. Rowland Heights is store #2, and Irvine is expected to open on November 25 among the many Asian restaurants in the Diamond Jamboree Plaza.
Coco Ichibanya: 1380 S. Fullerton Rd. #106 Rowland Heights. 626-581-1999. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Opening soon: 2710 Alton Pkwy. Unit A-115, Irvine.
Shuji Sakai writes about Japanese curry and potty-mouthed, mother-flippin' ice creams. Follow him on Twitter and professorsalt.com.