When diners hear the word “curry,” they would be forgiven for automatically turning their minds to Indian food. While curry did originate in India, it was later introduced to Japan by—who else?—the British.

While the smell of Japanese curry is unmistakable, the flavor and sauce have been transformed by the Japanese to suit their tastes; the sauce tends to be more like a thick, hearty gravy, and the flavor is sweeter, relying on a different combination of spices.

A fair share of Japanese restaurants serve- up some version of curry, but I tend to try and only order it from places that specialize in this dish, as their curries are generally far superior. One such place is the newly opened Kizuna, located on San Jose’s west side. The restaurant’s small, curated menu specializes in simple home-style Japanese dishes, mostly of the fried variety.

We decided to the chicken karaage ($7) app, fried shrimp curry ($12.50) and the kakiage udon ($12).

First up was the karaage, and it was really quite delicious. The batter was nice and light, and it came out piping hot and fresh. They also provided a pretty generous portion that would’ve been a proper app for three or four patrons. As is traditional, though, their karaage doesn’t come served with any dipping sauces, just some fresh lemon to squeeze on top.

Next, the two main entrées were served, and the udon came out with giant pieces of crispy vegetable tempura served over the clean, light broth and al dente noodles. We were a bit puzzled, because inside the veggies were pieces of shrimp that weren’t mentioned in the menu. I’m not sure if this was by accident or if this was standard, but it is worth posing the question for those of the vegetarian and vegan persuasion.

Lastly, the curry came out and it looked divine. While there were only three shrimp on the plate, it’s worth noting that they were gigantic and featured a deliciously crispy panko-crusted exterior. As for the curry itself, it was thick, hearty and had strong overtones of cloves and nutmeg in its beefy base. The sauce contained shredded pieces of tender beef and made for a very hearty meal when combined with their fluffy white rice. This would be a great meal anytime, but on a cold dreary winter day, it would be perfect.

In the culinary adventure that is life, it is important to seek out variations and see how similar foods have evolved from culture to culture. While Japanese curry may never achieve the culinary fame of its Indian forefather, it is definitely a dish worth sampling.