Monday, May 20, 2013


This past Thursday, my friend N's mother was in LA and took N, me, and our friend J out to dinner in LA Live.

J and N had tickets to the Kings/Sharks game, so we had to eat a quick, early dinner. We decided on Katsuya, the famous Los Angeles restaurant.

Now, I'd never been before, but I've heard great things. To be frank... I wasn't that impressed with the food, even though the ambiance was stellar. However, minor disclaimer, sushi restaurants are rarely exciting for vegetarians. There's only so many avocado and cucumber rolls I can eat before I've eaten them all!

We started off with edamame (predictably good), and before we were even finished, our various rolls and dishes started coming.

First up, my vegetable bento box. Three little sample-size dishes inside: a fairly average vegetable roll, followed by mushroom and avocado in a really delicious sauce (didn't catch the name of it, whoops), and then vegetable tempura waaay over on that far end. All in all, quite tasty, but nothing extremely special, and left me a little hungry.

This is one of Katsuya's specialties--the Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna. The restaurant calls this one of their specialty dishes and their "most flavorful", but my dinner companions were not incredibly impressed. While they did find it good, they didn't find the dish as awe-inspiring as the menu made it out to be.

Next up for my friends was the Spider roll; soft shell crab, ponzu, cucumber, and avocado. Again, a pretty typical sushi dish that was executed solidly. While all of the pieces were eaten, I don't think it was anything to write home about. The next roll however...

This was the one that was unanimously everyone's favorite... the Rock Shrimp Tempua roll. The base is tuna roll, topped with a few pieces of spicy tempura shrimp. These went really, really fast. According to my companions, their complete uniqueness added to the level of enjoyment. Really though, how often do you see a dish like this?

As you can see, I couldn't get a picture of the Wagyu Ribeye before N and her mother started tucking in. Cooked medium-rare and served sizzling on a plate with mushrooms, everyone said it was delicious. Apparently it was prepared and executed extremely well, and tasted wonderful.

I swear I just got a picture during a lucky people-free moment!

All in all, Katsuya's decent food was really improved by the ambiance and location. LA Live was bustling and exciting, as it normally is, and sitting outside and people-watching made the dinner even more fun.

Of course, the TV playing the Bruins game certainly improved it for me! Our fellow diners were extremely friendly and we struck up conversation with a few of them about their dishes. Of course, all of them had ordered and were raving about the Rock Shrimp Tempura roll.

Once we paid the bill, we snagged a quick picture in the wooden chair at the entrance, and we were off. N and J had nosebleed seats to the game, and I was back to school for an evening of Graham Norton and Arrested Development.

On a separate note, I'm back home in Massachusetts for the summer now! Expect lots of recipe posts now that I've got a full-size kitchen and my mother's well-stocked pantry.

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