Black cod marinated for 48 hours in a sweet miso dressing, served on a hoba leaf and topped with a sprig of pickled ginger. Spoons of baby yellowtail sashimi in a gelatin ponzu sauce with a citrus kick. Truffle butter poured over sizzling slices of wagyu beef and wild mushrooms. These are just a few of the dishes at Katsuya in Brentwood, Los Angeles.
Many restaurants in Los Angeles have been inspired by Chef Katsuya Uechi's signature dishes -- fried rock shrimp tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce; baked crab hand rolls; and crispy rice topped with spicy tuna.
The restaurant is a marriage of Chef Katsuya's inventive cuisine and the designs of Philippe Starck, a Parisian known for his wide range of creations, from electric cars to Fossil watches. The main room, called the Geisha Room, is shaped like a bento box, with hemlock walls adorned in sultry paintings of the lips, eyes and neck of a geisha. It's centered around a Robata bar, a grill where vegetables, seafood and meat burn over imported bincho tan charcoal. The back room, named the Dragon Room after the tattoo of a dragon slithering across the wall, has more of a club feel, with white leather couches and dim lighting. It is home to the "liquid kitchen."
"We call it the liquid kitchen because everything is made to order," said Cesar Blancarte, the general manager. "The mixologists muddle fruit and other ingredients specially for each drink only after it's ordered."
The cocktails, served in chilled glasses, taste so smooth you pick up only a hint of alcohol. The Tequila Mockingbird, made with Casamigos Reposado tequila, muddled red bell pepper, Serrano chili, cucumber, Cointreau and lime juice is served with a pepper cut in the shape of a bird perched on the rim of the glass.
While Katsuya Brentwood is often peppered with celebrities, other tables seat couples with their young children. The restaurant seems to take in everyone from those embodying the casualness of California to those there to "see and be seen."
Katsuya Brentwood is the first in a chain of Katsuya restaurants in Los Angeles and across the country and the Middle East. This weekend, the management company sbe is opening a new location in Las Vegas, as part of the $415 million renovation of the Sahara into the new SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Once a favorite hangout of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, the Sahara had suffered when Los Vegas tourism took a nose-dive during the recession. Sbe hopes to bring back some of its former glamour and glory.