Thursday, October 05, 2006

Brentwood Katsuya Sushi: Brentwood Chic with Brentwood Prices


Satisfying a rare mood to splurge--as well as our frequent mood for enjoying spicy tuna topped crispy rice cakes--Jess and I decided to try the recently opened Katsuya restaurant in Brentwood last night. Although famed sushi chef Katsuya Uechi's other two namesake Katsu-ya restaurants in the Valley have more of a stripmall, hole-in-the-wall ambience, by teaming up with designer guru Phillipe Starck for his latest Westside addition, the slick and stylish restaurant has more in common with the sceney spots such as Koi, Geisha House and Hyde where the chef's also lended his menu. Unfortunately, this new spot also has inherited the same slighty inflated prices as sceney spots such as Koi, Geisha House and Hyde.

The decor is quite stunning; outside, flaming torches mark the dining spot on the corner of San Vicente and Montana. Inside, sleek touches include white walls hung with glossy photos of shiny Geisha-red lips and heavy kohl'ed eyes, white leather sofas, 3 streamlined sushi and robata bars and a rock'n'roll-edged backroom with multiple silver-mounted mirrors and low cushy seating.

We didn't have reservations but were seated right away at the robata bar. Our waitress handed us an overwelming menu (in addition to four pages of cold, warm and hot dishes, the menu also includes a full selection of sushi and robata choices) but also helpfully highlights Katsuya's five most popular picks; seared albacore with crispy-fried onions ($16), yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno ($18), crab hand rolls ($12), rock shrimp tempura ($14), and the famed spicy tuna crispy rice cakes ($12). We took her recommendation on the last three--which all warranted their high recommendations; the hefty fresh crab rolls were wrapped in soft, black sesame-dotted soy paper, I don't normally like fried dishes but the delicated-fried rock shrimp were light and ungreasy and the only complaint about the spicy tuna crispy rice cakes is that there isn't enough of them (4 per serving).

Although the popular scallops with kiwi, udon seafood boullabaise and Katsuya roll also sounded good, we went with the grilled chicken meatball ($5) and steak-wrapped asparagus ($6) robata skewers since we were seated at the robata grill. The dessert of the day (purple potato mousse with brown sugar) didn't appeal so we went with the flourless chocolate cake a la mode, which was ok but not amazing.

The accompanying cocktails we sampled included the spicy-sweet Burning Mandarin (Mandarin vodka, citrus juices and Serrano chilies in a sugar-rimmed martini glass), Watermelon-Cucumber Mojito and White Grape Martini (all $11). Oh, and if you want water with your meal (free water that is), asking for "flat" won't suffice, make sure to specify "tap" or you'll end up unwittingly shelling out $10 for a bottle of Voss water.

Last night was a tasty dining experience, but with a $130 bill for two, you get the feeling that you're paying for the scene as much as for the food. Not to mention, also for some overpriced "flat" water.

**for more sushi pics, check out
www.lataco.com

Katsuya
1777 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood
310.207.8744

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