Japanese curry rice falls under the comfort food category for me. Curry-Ya is located in the East Village, next to Rai Rai Ken (ramen place), and is co-owned by the same folks. A few weeks ago, I went to Curry Ya for the first time. I ordered the berkshire pork curry rice and a hamburger on the side. The waiter asked if I wanted "mild, medium or very spicy". Not knowing what to expect, I chose the middle road, medium spicy and a ramune soda. Ramune is a Japanese soda that comes in a cute glass bottle with a marble in the middle. More on Ramune here. There are no tables in Curry-Ya, only stools alongside the bar. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of food there. I found comfort in the fact that they cooked in front of me and I knew exactly what went into my curry. Another thing I really found great was the condiments they provided on the side, the picked onions & raddish were great!
The only issue, an a significantly one (considering the economic situation we are in now) is the price tag of the curry rice. It's $10-$15 for each dish, my pork curry rice was $15, I found it a little hard to justify paying so much for curry rice when the instant ones cost about $2. I know....I know, it's not the same but you get my point.
A slightly cheaper option for Japanese curry rice is Udon West on St. Marks. I had the shrimp tempura curry rice when I went for lunch a few months ago and it came up to around $10. Perhaps Udon West is less refined than Curry-Ya but it hit the right spot. Their udon dishes are also delicious, perfect for a cold cold day like today (weather.com says "32F, feels like 28F")..brrr..
Address: Curry-Ya, 214 East 10th St. New York, NY 10003 (bet. 2nd & 1st Ave).
6 months ago