The first thing you notice at the new Katsuya in Brentwood is the sultry, stunning design, with side rooms each holding their own surprises. Want an ambient, sexy backroom with mirrors adorning the walls? Check. A pulsating bar room that is more like a nightclub? ( The S Bar space transforms at night with DJ programming.) Check. An elegant seating area with decadent white leather booths? Check. And of course, seating around an elevated robata bar.
It won’t surprise you to hear that Phillippe Starck designed the place. A joint venture of SBE’s impresario Sam Nazarian and his innovative company CITIZENS GO, his C3(Creating Culinary Communities) is a meal delivery and pickup service across C3‘s network of more than 200 ghost kitchens, brick-and-mortar restaurants and the soon-to-open food halls. (Which means you can use the Citizens Go app to order takeout.)
But you’re here for the food courtesy of Chef Uechi, who made a name for himself with his California take on Japanese classics.
Katsuya has all the favorites but the chef put’s his own fresh spin on them, such as the standard Japanese salad which here is called the ‘Japanese Slaw,’ a crisy and crunchy slaw in an Umeboshi dressing which has just enough bite. Made for sharing. ($15.)
Miso soup, which can usually be a bit boring, here is fresh and delicious. We could easily have gulped 3 of them. ($6.)
They offer a ‘Spicy Edamane’ with Sichimi pepper, sriracha, and Maldon sea salt, which is sweet, salt with a little heat. ($11.)
Don’t miss the Lobster Tempura with Spicy Aioli, Ponzu Gel, Red Onions, Serrano, Lemon which is spectacular. ($26.) We do wish they offered vegetable tempura, however.
Of course, we had sashimi and sushi, and if the fish were any fresher they’d be swimming past you. Our eating partner volunteered to try the Hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi 5 pc ($24) which he pronounced delicious.
There are all the classic rolls (hand/cut) you expect and seafood offerings include a Miso Marinated Black Cod ($29.) which fellow dinners were raving about.
This Katsuya signature uses sweet miso and the special taste of baked black cod to deliver unparalleled flavor.
The service is warm and knowledgeable and by all means, ask your server for suggestions. They know their stuff.
For dessert they were all sold out of the ‘liquid nitrogen snowball cheesecake’ but we weren’t disappointed in the molton ‘chocolate lovers’ cake.
For an after-dinner drink, we’d recommend the sultry ‘S bar’, with noted mixologist Yael Vengroff, who creates specialty concoctions. She wasn’t there the night we visited, so we stuck to the sake, of which there were a zillions kinds, as well as shochu options.
Katsuya is a perfect special occasion restaurant, date night or just when you want so splurge a bit.