“Follow the line.” That’s the advice a well-traveled friend always gives me when wondering where to eat in Japan. He insists that Japanese people always know where the good food is and, if there’s a line, the smart move is to head right for it. I recalled this sage advice as I entered Demiya, the newest Japanese curry spot in west San Jose, and encountered a proper line.
That said, a line to the door is a small feat at Demiya, a diminutive shop in a strip mall on the north side of Saratoga Avenue and north of Interstate 280. Despite the sparse décor, the interior is warm and inviting with a wood overlay and modern lighting. The smell of Japanese curry fills the air and immediately begins to make one forget the cold, dreary weather. After a short wait, we placed our order at the register and grabbed one of the few remaining tables. We decided to go with the Miso Beef Onigiri ($3.90), Chicken Katsu Curry ($13.50), and Ton-Katsu Curry ($13.50) with a sunny-side up egg ($1.50).
The Miso Beef Onigiri came out first, and it consisted of a delicious ball of rice filled with well-seasoned, tender bits of beef; I especially liked the nori (seaweed) wrapper, which gave it a delightfully salty crunch.
After what seemed like a long wait, the Katsu Curry dishes came out and looked and smelled heavenly. For the uninitiated, Japanese curry is generally less spicy, sweeter and thicker—almost like hearty gravy—but there’s no denying the smell. When combined with deep-fried, panko-crusted cutlets of perfectly cooked pork or chicken, it is the ultimate Japanese comfort food, and Demiya’s rendition was spot-on. The tender, fluffy white rice is also an excellent vehicle for the curry, as it helps one taste the boldness and rich, deep flavors of the sauce. We ordered the “hot” and “extra hot” variations of the curry and didn’t find either to be mind-blowingly hot, but they did give our sinuses a nice cleansing. By the end of the meal, I was really hoping for some bread to sop up the last remaining bits of curry that remained on my dish. Fingers would have to do.
Despite the fast-casual feel, Demiya is fast in name only, as almost everything is prepared fresh and made to order. Don’t expect a quick meal here, but the reward is a succulent feast of meaty, saucy goodness. After all, the line never lies.
375 Saratoga Ave, Suite G, San Jose.