Japanese Curry to Try Before You Die

The name “Muracci’s” sounds awfully Italian to me.  Supposedly, it’s the nickname of the owners’ son.

Instead, this restaurant serves up what is arguably one of the best Japanese curries outside of Japan…so I’ve been told.  7×7 Magazine even included it on their 100 Things to Try Before You Die list for 2010.  But with its San Francisco Financial District location and weekday only hours, I’d never make it down there.

So when they opened their second location in Los Altos (“Muracci’s 2 Japanese Curry and Grill“), I was thrilled.  Finally I’d get to see if it was worth the hype.

Some friends who tried it declared it was the best curry they’d had since visiting Japan.  I’ve never stayed in Japan long enough to try any curry, so I’d have to base my review solely on the dish’s individual merits.

The menu is very basic.  So instead of getting too adventurous, I decided to stick with what they’re known for and get the Katsu Curry w/Veggies (breaded pork chop).

The verdict?…It may well have been one of the best Japanese curries I’ve tried.  And I got it to go, so imagine if it had been fresh from the kitchen!

Muracci’s curry had many layers of flavor and a much more warm spicy flavor profile.  It’s not thick and pasty like the usual stuff served Stateside, but more of a gravy or sauce consistency.  And it’s not as sweet (other Japanese curries will typically add more apple to give it a fruitier sweet flavor and less heat).

The husband-wife team that owns these two restaurants make their curries from scratch.  It apparently takes two days to make and simmers for 20 hours.  The result is a curry that is rich, warm, and has a lot more depth in its flavor profile than most (think five spice or cloves).  I wimped out and ordered the “mild” version (there are three levels of heat to chose from), but I didn’t regret it since it had just a hint of real heat.  And the homemade soup stock base gave it a wonderfully meaty, robust flavor.

You also get some pickled veggies to start, which is a nice touch (they include some of it in your to go order, as well).  I hear it gets super crowded during the lunch rush, so come early or late.  It’s a tiny, yet clean restaurant, so it’s not exactly great for large groups.  I was also impressed at how genuinely friendly the staff was.

Muracci’s curry was different…a very GOOD different.  I will most definitely be back to try their other dishes as well as their curry noodle bowls.

It’s the perfect Japanese comfort food.  Just don’t come here expecting sushi!

Muracci's 2 on Urbanspoon

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