Katsuya Opening ~ Brentwood
11777 San Vicente Boulevard ~ Brentwood
A small slice of West Hollywood came west to Brentwood with the opening of tony Japanese eatery Katsuya last night. Ex-Laker Rick Fox, muy caliente and muy diminutive actress Salma Hayek, DJ Brent Bolthouse and ex-L.A. DA Gil Garcetti were among the Japanese businessmen, surgically enhanced MILFs, established seniors, club-hopping under-dressed youth, and freeloading travel writers enjoying watermelon mojitos and serious shitloads of fresh sushi and small Japanese robotayaki dishes. With such a star-studded crowd of heavies, we often had to ask oursleves who the fuck invited TACO? Oh wait, no one did.
The streamlined, wood-heavy restaurant, deftly designed by Philipe Starck, was gorgeous in places, vaguely reminiscent of L.A. Story’s L’Idiot in others. The piece d’resistance is the open robota bar in the middle of the scene, where guests awaited the hand-off of juicy steak and chicken skewers. The music, arranged by local visionary DJ Michael Smith, soothed while not lulling the crowd to sleep, injecting a pulsing, ambient beat of energy. After traditional Japanese drummers made their way into the center of the room for a short performance, we could have sworn we heard one of the marketing men compare the restuarant’s opening to man landing on the moon…
Artfully arranged sushi platters and rolls were cut fresh and delicious at the back of the restaurant, with beloved favorites like spicy tuna rolls topped with slivers of jalapeno and treasured sashimi standards such as toro and albacore, plus octopus tentacle perfectly fresh enough to avoid sepukku-inducing looks from the Nippon crowd. The sushi here is clean and delicious and Katsuya’s best asset is the direction of its Master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi. The fish is served authentically, creatively and also in the Westernized roll styles we expect here in Southern California. Delicate mini-chocolate lava cakes and coffee creme brulees topped the experience with an indulgence of sweet pleasure…(Continued below…)
We skipped the extensive selection of sakes for fruitier house-drinks and eventually our favorite Japanese beer, Kirin. The coolest move of the night came while waiting for valet to deliver the Audi’s, Beamers, Benzes, Ferarris and Lexes among our Honda. A white-suited European man lit his cigarette off of the flame-topped boulder that bears Katsuya’s name is Kanji. We would have surely lost our eyelashes just like that time we hit the one-foot bong in high school.
Stiff Brentwood doesn’t have as trendy a spot as Katsuya strives and looks to be. The real question is not whether the extensive cocktail list, grilled meats and incredible fish are prepared for the Brentwood crowd, but rather if the Brentwood crowd is prepared for a restaurant that bucks the Italian classics and wouldn’t look out of place with Studio 54 lines leading into a restuarant that could easily be mistaken for a Hollywood nightclub.