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I just don’t want to look back and think “I could have eaten that.”

Japanese Curry & more

Martina from Eat Your Kimchi LOVES Japanese curry. In particular Coco Curry. I’ve had Indian curry and Thai curry. However, I’ve never had Japanese curry. After watching Martina and Simon go on and on about J-curry, I really wanted to try it. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen curry on the menu at a Japanese restaurant. Japanese restaurants around here usually consist of hibachi, sushi and teriyaki bentos. So guess how excited I was when Ann found a review for J-curry at a restaurant called Abe Japanese Food & Bar!!! WOOHOO!!!! I was also a little annoyed with myself. I’ve driven passed Abe many, many times and always said that I needed to eat there, but never did. So, last Friday my friends and I went there for lunch!

Abe is located at:

2625 Old Denton Road, #550 Carrollton, Texas 75007

Hours of operation:

Wednesday – Monday: 11 AM to 10 PM
Sunday – 11 AM to 9 PM
Tuesday – Closed

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I really should have come here way before I did, but who knew there was such goodness in this restaurant?! There are so many good restaurants to choose from in this area. People like to stick to what they know and I guess I was afraid it wasn’t going to be any good when I know that there are good ones nearby. Does that make sense? Well, now I KNOW about Abe!

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Jesse and Holly ordered the Gyoza, homemade steamed dumplings ($5.00). I didn’t have any so I can’t tell you if it was good or not. It looks good though, doesn’t it? I’m usually not a gyoza kind of gal so when they offered me one, I declined. I suppose I could have done it for science. Jesse and Holly said it was good and I believe them. 🙂

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This is the Ebi Mayo ($5.00). Shrimp tempura salad with spicy mayo and ponzu sauce. This dish was so good. The tempura shrimp was still piping hot which is what made this dish. A cooled down version is alright, but it’s best when it’s hot. The spicy mayo went really well with the tempura. The surprise is the salad with ponzu sauce underneath. The change in flavor from “spicy-creamy” (that’s a word) to “tangy-tart” (that’s also a word) is a really nice contrast.

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This is Takoyaki ($5.00). Grilled balls of batter stuffed with octopus and served with takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo and bonita flakes. In Japanese tako means octopus and yaki means to fry or grill. If you’re interested in learning more about how takoyaki is made click this link. I’ve had takoyaki before. The frozen version and it wasn’t good at all. This however was amazing. The inside is slightly gooey and molten lava hot. I heard that the center is not supposed to be cooked all the way through so if you try it and find that it’s “undercooked”, don’t be alarmed. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

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I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try this dish and I was so delighted that Abe not only had Japanese curry, but Okinomiyaki ($12.00)!!!! You can’t hear me, but I am totally squealing right now. I keep seeing this on Japanese dramas and shows and have always wondered what it tasted like. Okonomi means what you like or what you want. So in a way the sky is the limit with this savory pancake. This version had shredded cabbage, green onions, octopus and uncured bacon. The toppings are pretty similar to the takoyaki with the okonomiyaki sauce, mayo and shredded bonito flakes.

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You can kind of see the shredded cabbage in the pancake. The okinomiyaki sauce is kind of hard to describe. It’s not like teriyaki or eel sauce. It’s sweet like them, but there’s a slight tang. Kind of like a sweetened Worcestershire sauce. The Japanese really like their mayo. If you think J-mayo is the same as the ones that you are used to, you would be wrong. Japanese mayo has a distinct eggy taste to it. Kewpie brand mayo is made with egg yolks rather than the whole egg which is why it’s more eggy.

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Holly ordered the Chicken Teriyaki Bento ($8.00). Doesn’t that look good? I don’t ever order teriyaki bentos, but this is a fantastic looking meal. Perhaps if I ever get to visit Japan, I will finally order a teriyaki bento.

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Ann ordered the Ebi Katsu Don ($9.00). Pork cutlet and shrimp tempura over rice with egg, green onion and special sauce. I know this picture looks like there’s only 1 tempura shrimp, but there’s actually more underneath the pork cutlet. So what’s the difference between katsu in a bowl versus katsu on a plate? Bowls usually involve a sauce. When it’s on a plate, the rice is standalone. That’s my experience anyway.

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Now I know that the whole point of coming to Abe was to get the curry. However, since I never had it before I wasn’t confident in ordering it. Since there were 2 other people in our group that did order it, I figured I could just get a taste to see if I liked it. So, instead of the curry I ordered the Kakuni Don ($8.00). It’s marinated pork belly (you know how I like my pork belly) with egg, green onion over rice with special sauce. I really liked this dish. It reminded me of a Thai dish called Khao Kha Moo (stewed pork hocks over rice). This dish was great, but I wish there was more pork belly. There was too much rice for the amount of pork that you get. I guess that’s why they give you 2 pickled side dishes. You can eat it with the rest of the rice.

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Jesse ordered the Curry Katsu ($9.00). It’s curry over pork cutlet with rice and salad. The pork cutlet is huge, isn’t it? Jesse wasn’t able to finish it, but who could blame him. I probably wouldn’t have been able to even finish half of it. I didn’t try this dish, because I just wanted a taste of the curry alone. Allan ordered a different curry dish so I waited to try his. So, here’s a little history lesson courtesy of Wikipedia:

As curry was introduced to Japan via English cuisine, it was originally considered to be Western cuisine. This Western-style curry co-exists alongside Indian-style curry, which has become popular since the increase in Indian restaurants in the 1990s. Western-style curry draws its influence from stews mixed with curry powder, which were popular amongst the British Navy.

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So, this is what Allan ordered. Chicken Curry with rice ($8.00). I took a big spoonful of it and it was not at all like I thought it would be. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong, but it literally reminded me of brown gravy. It just so happened to have curry flavor to it. It’s nothing at all like the Indian and Thai version. It’s definitely curry, but subtle if that makes any sense. It’s pretty much like what Wikipedia said above. It’s like a thick stew with curry powder in it. I’ve always wondered why Japanese curry was more sauce than vegetables or protein and now I know. The sauce is really flavorful. It can stand alone. I am definitely going to order the curry the next time I go to Abe. I know the title to this post is misleading. I didn’t actually order the curry so how can I say it’s very delicious? Well you don’t need to have multiple bites of something to know that it’s freaking good. Know what I’m saying?

So, if you are looking for more than just sushi or hibachi, I HIGHLY recommend Abe. All of the dishes that I sampled were amazing!!!

I’m leaving you with the Eat Your Kimchi episode where Martina and Simon go to Japan and eat curry. The curry part starts at minute 2:48 and again at 8:48. Enjoy!

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