Nasu Oyaji (Curry), Shimokitazawa


I was walking the other day on the south side of Shimokitazawa when a tiny sign at the entrance of a little street caught my eyes, advertizing a restaurant located "63 steps" from there. Pushed by curiosity and hunger, I started walking towards the mysterious joint carefully counting my steps until I got there after 59 steps (have you ever wondered why your steps seem to become suddenly smaller when you count them?).

The cute shop I got to is "Nasu Oyaji" (probably best translated as "Uncle Eggplant"), a curry shop that's been exactly 20 years in business, with a very limited menu of about four different curries. The interior is wood based, rather charming and looks like one of those numerous cafes in Shimokitazawa, simple and arranged with good and humble taste. You can see on the righthand side of the picture a rack with a hundred or so vinyl records which the Eggplant Man plays as a nice background music. Some old american pop was playing when I was there and it does seem like music is one of the boss' passion. It looks like the place is patronized by a lot of musicians as well as music industry people, and there were two guys sitting at a table that clearly were from the biz.


As I said earlier, the food choice being limited, it wasn't too hard to make a decision between the Chicken, Beef, Vegetable or All-mix curries: loving vegies for their taste and for the inner peace they give me when confronted to the gargantuan amount of food I usually ingest, I quickly opted for the Yasai Kare (vegetable curry).

After my order, I started reading a couple of news items on my phone and stepped outside the building to check-in on Foursquare when the waitress got out to tell me the dish was ready. That's how fast I was served.

Vegetable Curry

The regular serving of curry and rice is larger than an average portion somewhere else and should be enough provided you're not starving. The ingredients topped were cuts of boiled eggplants, carrots, broccolis, mushrooms and a quarter of fresh tomato. The boiled egg you see in the middle is a topping I added for ¥50.
I have recently been eating a lot of eggplants that were quickly fried before being additionally cooked so the simply boiled eggplant felt a little "British" and watery but that's basically my only complain.

The curry was hotter than I thought, and probably too spicy for anyone disliking hot stuff. It tastes like a crossbreed of old-school Japanese Kare and authentic Indian curry, with the former one being dominant. The not-too-pasty sauce has this undeniable sweet aroma characteristic of the curries your Japanese mum cooks but with a hot accent of pepper.
The boiled egg was a good idea as the yolk smoothens the curry to a really nice degree when and where mixed. Recommended.

I am attaching for your information a paragraph about addiction from the Wiki article on Curry which I found interesting as I had no clue there were talks of dependance on it.

Curry addiction

A number of studies have claimed that the reaction of pain receptors to the hotter ingredients in curries, even korma, leads to the body's release of endorphins and, with the complex sensory reaction to the variety of spices and flavours, a natural high is achieved that causes subsequent cravings, often followed by a desire to move on to hotter curries. Some refer to this as addiction, but other researchers contest the use of the word "addiction" in this instance.[28]


Nasu Oyaji offers rather basic curries but I somehow understand that some people get addicted to the place and its dishes. A simple menu with good food that's not too expensive in a nice cafe-like atmosphere, that's probably the secret to two decades of successful business in an ever changing and competitive environment that is Shimokitazawa.
They're also serving curries all afternoon, so if you feel a little hungry around 4pm, it is definitely an option!

Nasu Oyaji is closed on Thursdays and serving curries the rest of the week from noon to 22:00pm (L.O. 21:30). They do close when out of sauce, so good luck!
Setagaya-ku, Daizawa 5-36-8
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