Restaurant Reviews: By Stephen Silverman • Photography by Martin Mann
Lights! Cameras! Japanese fusion!
The fastest way to experience the amped-up L.A. party scene is to head for the Gaslamp Quarter and the new Katsuya restaurant.
It's not just the creative Japanese fu-sion menu that gives the place an overwhelm-ing über vibe. Especially weekends, Katsuya features thumping music, a three-deep crowd at the bar, fancy-dressed young women in platform skyscraper heels, a swiftly moving waitstaff, sky-high ceilings, mirrors and the reflected light from vehicles on the street. Adding even more eye candy are Philippe Starck's billboard-sized close-ups of a Geisha's face that pop up around the room.
Katsuya's menu is a match for all this activity. It offers sushi plus mildly tradi-tional Japanese dishes plus some very contemporary takes on Japanese food. Contemplating salmon sashimi with caviar, jumbo scallops with kiwi and albacore with crispy onions, diners know they're not in Kyoto any more. Some of the more interesting tastes and combinations include crispy rice with spicy tuna, yellowtail with jalapeño and almost anything off the charcoal grill (the robata), which imparts a smoky flavor to foods. Chicken and meat dishes are available along with fish.
Service: Servers are ever-at-the-ready and anxious to please, but mix-ups are not uncommon.
Patrons: The crowd is mostly local with a smattering of folks staying in the hotel. On weekends, most patrons are in their 20s and 30s and appear to be present mostly for the scene. There's always a sprinkling of baby boomers, too.
Parking: It's the typical Gaslamp hassle. The Andaz Hotel offers valet parking and there are plenty of private lots. Nearby, the city operates a parking garage at Sixth Avenue and Market Street.
Noise: There's plenty of it and it's loud.
Details: Open for lunch and dinner. At dinner, starters range from $8 to $18, and entrées from $16 to $32. Very full bar. 600 F St., in the Andaz Hotel, Gaslamp Quarter.