Curry-ya X Rai Rai Ken X Otafuku

Curry-ya X Rai Rai Ken X Otafuku
Curry-ya X Rai Rai Ken X Otafuku

Whenever I got my allowance, I loved going to East Village - not to the main drag St. Marks Place, but a block or two north of it. Before actually going to Japan, this neighborhood was where I went to learn about Japanese cuisine in real life.

Over the years, everything I see in anime, Japanese dramas, and movies appear here. There are creamy Japanese curry rice, ramen, and street food like takoyaki and okonomiyaki. There are also, of course, sushi, soba, and ice cream parfait.


Baked Curry from Curry-ya
Baked Curry from Curry-ya

For a long time, I pictured like-minded restaurateurs just happened to open their businesses featuring different aspects of Japanese cuisines. As it turned out, this was no accident. This collective of Japanese eateries is the life work of Bon Yagi - T.I.C. Restaurant Group. Yagi came to the United States from Japan in 1968 and took on all sorts of odd jobs. In 1984, he opened up his first restaurant, Hasaki. Over the years, T.I.C. Restaurant Group grew to include over ten restaurants. Almost every one of them specialized in a different type of Japanese food.

2020 was a tough year for restaurant businesses in New York City. While warm, mildly spicy Japanese style curry covered rice and hot soft takoyaki may not be at the same locations as before, they can still be found in East Village. Curry-ya and Otafuku moved in with Rai Rai Ken for now. Their signs can be seen at the same store front, and you can order all three specialties from one place - Curry-ya X Rai Rai Ken X Otafuku.


Otakufu x Medetai
Making Takoyaki at Otafuku X Medetai

Takoyaki
Takoyaki




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