Kobe Curry at 180 Castro St. opened in early May, slinging kobe beef-based Japanese curry. They get their meat from reigning Bay Area beef purveyor Niman Ranch and then age it in a special facility for 25 days, according to the restaurant's website.
The kitchen is headed up by Kevin Uchida, who was born and raised in Japan and said he's been cooking Japanese food since he was about 15 years old (he's now 24). He's been professionally cooking for about two and half years, with his most recent stint as part of Bacon Bacon, a San Francisco-based food truck and restaurant.
"This is a lot more, in my personal opinion, more fun," he said. "I get to make my own recipes and put them on the board and I'm pretty confident with what I put out."
The curries are made with his own secret blend of spices and served with either beef, chicken or pork cutlets (all $9.50), or sans meat ($8) with a side of rice. Diners can choose three levels of heat mild, medium or spicy. Kobe Curry currently offers few appetizers Japanese-style fried chicken and gyoza -- but Uchida said he plans to add a few salads to the menu.
For dessert, he recently whipped up a green tea crème brulee with house-made agave ice cream.
Right now, the restaurant serves Japanese brew staples like Asahi and Sapporo, but Uchida said they'll soon have more specialty beers like Japanese IPA's.
Kobe Curry occupies a small space part of Shabuway, mainly operating via outdoor seating in a patio on Castro. Kobe Curry is under the same ownership umbrella as the Shabuway-chain. Japanese-born Eiichi Mochizuki opened the first Shabuway in San Mateo in 2004 and is also behind a string of other restaurants in the Bay Area.
180 Castro St., Mountain View
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch; 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for dinner (Uchida said they might soon extend Friday and Saturday hours to about 9:30 p.m. Check the Kobe Curry Facebook page for updates.)