Katsu-ya(s) – Los Angeles
What once was a hidden treasure in the valley in a strip center next to Domino’s and a mom-and-pop pet store has exploded into one of LA’s trendiest restaurants. Yes, nightlife extraordinaire Sam Nazarian knows a good thing when he sees it. Instead of letting it be, he injects the concept with millions of dollars and a Philippe Starck design to make it explode across the greater Los Angeles area.
For those of you who live in LA, Katsu-ya is not front page news, and it’s far from Sam’s latest offerings. But, I think you’ve noticed, it’s still bumpin’.
Personally I’m a fan of the original, which I wrote up here. Most locals would agree with me. It’s still the best.
But for people visiting LA, I think the SBE Katsu-yas exemplify LA. First of all, the original’s signature dishes are replicated to a T. Albeit they cost twice as much, but you’re paying for atmosphere, which is always teeming with celebs, producers, hot actresses, and plenty of wanna-be douche bags. It’s the pu pu plater of LA culture! Kidding…kinda.
Anyway, as much as the locals trash it, they’re always there. The food is good, the people are pretty, and the vibe is alive.
Locations include: Brentwood (my favorite), Hollywood (filled with underage party peeps), Downtown, and…Glendale.
Dishes I devour: spicy tuny app, rock shrimp tempura, baked crab hand roll, black cod. Yum!