Los Angeles, California
Posted by: Roman Paschal
Let’s talk passion, passion for sushi. A man said to me, “Roman, you travel all over the world, write me something about a restaurant that’s special to you.” Simple, Katsu-ya. A great friend of mine introduced me to Katsu-ya. Our visits are made more special because he allows me, the International Vagabond, to join him every Friday along with his two amazing children.
In Los Angeles there is no shortage of places to grab sushi. However, Katsu-ya on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City stands a titan to which I have only ever tasted one equal. My friend and I normally start out with the salmon special, easily one of my favorites. It’s two pieces of nigiri sushi, each possessing a strip of salmon, avocado, lemon and red onion shavings drizzled with ponzu sauce. The combination incites a ridiculous explosion of flavor. I follow that up with the spicy tuna shrimp tempura roll. The creamy popcorn shrimp on top are killer!
Just this past Friday I tried the crispy rice with spicy tuna, mouthwateringly yummy! The paper thin sliced jalapeño makes it sing! After my first order, I had to get another. It’s simply too damn good. Even something so common as their salmon and avocado roll screams “Grade A” fresh seafood.
Nobu is the titan that can match Katsu-ya in Studio City, but you better be ready to drop Abu Dhabi dollars. I’ve been to Nobu in London a handful of times, the two in New York another handful, and the one in Budapest on three occasions. Every single visit has been top notch. They never fail to exceed expectations but I can’t make it out of Nobu on a solo visit for less than $150.
For some reason Katsu-ya has the reputation for being pricey, as a frequent visitor I don’t get that. I can walk in and have a lunch to die for on $35 and the service is EXCEPTIONAL. Who the hell can complain about that?
If you’re very fortunate, you’ll come on a night when Patrick is behind the bar. The man is as talented with raw fish as Dickens was with words. I don’t level that praise lightly. Dickens holds a special place in my soul. I never grow weary of Oliver and the Artful Dodger.
Katsu-ya truly is passion, passion for Sushi. For those from a state that educated a young man and provided for him when he was without, when you make it to LA, make it to Katsu-ya, it will be your pleasure. And if Patrick is there, better over tip!
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