Katsuya by Starck is a chain of upscale restaurants originally from LA, featuring Japanese food for the American palate. Located inside the Andaz hotel in downtown San Diego, this swanky restaurant space is massive for San Diego standards, though the hostess told me that she actually thought it was quite small.
Here is half of the space:
Katsuya has three kitchens serving raw, hot, and robata grill items.
We were actually invited by the restaurant so rather than only trying a few dishes, the chef prepared smaller sample portions of Katsuya’s more famous items. Chef Adam also took the time to come out personally and explain the dishes as well as get an idea of our preferences for the rest of the night.
Katsuya has an impressive sake selection and we chose to share a small bottle of Tomoju.
They also had some interesting cocktails and we tried a Kiwi Envy, which I really enjoyed. Light, refreshing, with a lot of kiwi pulp.
To my delight, the first thing we were served was an uni platter consisting of uni quail egg shooters with caviar, uni sushi, and fresh uni served in its shell.
Since this was basically uni straight up there’s not much to describe. If you enjoy uni like me, you’ll likely enjoy this sampler. If not, then probably not.
Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna
This is Katsuya’s most famous dish, though I actually was not a fan. I loved how creamy the spicy tuna was, but found the crispy rice to be too hard. I’ve liked crispy rice sushi dishes before, but didn’t particularly like the crispy rice here.
Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño
This was one of DH’s favorites of the night. The sashimi was fresh, and flavored with ponzu and jalapeno. It managed to stay a light appetizer even with the spicy kick.
I really enjoyed this pairing of the citrus with fresh large slices of scallops. It looked colorful and tasted just as good.
Next came a sampler of the robata grill items: beef asparagus, mushroom, fingerling potatoes, tomato wrapped bacon, and chicken thigh with skin. These were a little too oily for my taste.
Beef tobanyaki with wild mushrooms
This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The beef was tender, perfectly seasoned and sizzling hot. I liked that three different mushrooms were used.
Striped Bass served cooked with Szechuan sauce. I really enjoyed this one as well. The crispy breading was just the right amount of thickness and crunchiness. It would be a perfect fried chicken breading as well. The fish fillet inside remained very moist.
The sashimi was fresh, though nothing particularly stood out.
Our dessert platter featured mochi ice cream, chocolate pudding, strawberry shortcake and creme brulee. All were pretty good. DH’s favorite was the chocolate pudding.
Some green tea to aid in digestion
We left very full and pretty happy with what we ate. Of course, being an upscale restaurant, Katsuya is on the expensive side. I’d save this one for special occasions. To save some money, I’d recommend coming during their happy hour or when they run other specials like their Monday night half off sake bottles. They also have various events happening often, such as the Art of Sake and Sushi that took place a few weeks ago. You can view the menu on their website.
Here’s a quick shot of the fancy bathrooms. I couldn’t resist checking them out.
Please note, as stated above, I was invited by the restaurant and my meal was complimentary. I was not paid for this review and my opinions are my own.
600 F Street
San Diego, CA 92101