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Frugal Find: Fat Spoon

Photograph by Jessica Boone

Japanese curry—a peppery gravy with only a slight resemblance to its Thai and Indian cousins—is the comfort food of choice in its native country. At Fat Spoon co-owner Michael Cardenas (Lazy Ox, Aburiya Toranoko) and chef Hiro Fujita (Hamasaku, Kumo) elevate the spiced sauce, ladling it over sheets of panko-crusted tonkatsu pork loin and hunks of braised short rib. There’s pasta, too: spaghetti with dried seaweed and cod roe. But it’s that complex curry diners sop up with every last grain of sticky rice. Prime location: Sandwiched between the crowded Daikokuya Ramen and Far Bar, the Fat Spoon’s dining room is a Zen-like respite. // 329 E. 1st St., Little Tokyo, 213-621-7890