I am so behind on posting. I’m not finished with Oaxaca, but needed a break from continuously longing for the flavours of Mexico, so I’m going back a couple of months with this post. I’m committed to not leaving good meals behind, so better late than never!

One of my favourite nights of the year is when we go out with our friend Ken for his birthday in LA. Ken is a friend from Vancouver, but it seems that the only time we ever see him and his lovely wife Karen is in LA for his birthday dinner. Maybe that’s the reason I anticipate this night out, or maybe it’s because we usually have a fantastic meal together.

I was feeling pressured this year to come up with a great choice because we’ve had so much fun in previous years at Red O and the Bazaar. My criteria was that it has to be good and it has to be fun. Not terribly difficult expectations in a place like LA, but I had a tough time deciding. In the end, I chose Katsuya, which was a repeat for us, although new to Ken and Karen.

The funny thing is, I rarely seek Japanese when I’m travelling outside of Japan. But over 10 years ago, I was treated to a fantastic experience of sushi in LA, different because they were serving deliciously creative dishes in a wonderfully designed room while you sat amongst beautiful people. It was sexy Japanese food, I liked it when I first tried it, and I still do.

I picked Katsuya in Brentwood because we’d been there before and had a good time. I remembered that the food was good, albeit not traditional Japanese, and that the room was nice to look at. Funny enough, Ken reiterated my thoughts on how it’s odd to have picked Japanese, seeing as we have good Japanese in Vancouver, but I asked him to trust my choice and hoped that he wouldn’t be disappointed.

We started off with the standard edamame and (the becoming standard in LA) shishito to nibble on while we caught up on life and decided what to eat.

"katsuya edamame"

"Katsuya shishito"

The group let me decide the menu for the night, so I thought I’d throw out a “best-of”, with dishes I’ve had before and some “only found in LA” favourites.

"Katsuya yellowtail sashimi"
Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño topped with ponzu.
"Katsuya crispy rice spicy tuna"
Crispy rice with spicy tuna – a true LA favourite. I don’t understand why I’ve never seen this dish outside of LA.
"Katsuya rock shrimp tempura"
Creamy rock shrimp tempura with spicy sauce. The Matsuhisa version of this is much better.
"Katsuya Spicy tuna"
Spicy Albacore sashimi with crispy onion.
"katsuya baked crab hand roll"
Baked crab hand roll – another “only in LA” thing and I wish someone would make these at home. These are the reason why I make a stop for sushi in LA each year.
"Katsuya scallop kiwi"
Scallops on top of kiwi with a yuzu dressing.


"Katsuya Spicy tuna roll"
Spicy tuna roll
"Katsuya Special roll"
Special Katsuya Roll – tuna, yellowtail, salmon, scallop, crab and avocado wrapped with rice, soy paper, and cucumber, served with wasabi ponzu on the side. Our least favourite roll of the night. Too much going on… cucumber wasn’t necessary.
"Katsuya shrimp tempura roll"
Rock shrimp tempura roll
"Katsuya rainbow roll"
Rainbow roll – the simple California roll elevated to something too pretty to eat.
"Katsuya corn crunch roll"
Corn crunch roll

That was a lot of food for just 5 of us, and just when I thought I couldn’t eat another bite, we decided to order dessert as well. Too bad I wasn’t  paying attention to what we ordered, so my descriptions are my best guess.

Bread pudding
Bread pudding
Chocolate lava cake
Chocolate lava cake
Bananas foster crepe
Bananas foster crepe
Cookies and milk.
Cookies and milk

Thoroughly satiated and excited that the meal lived up to expectations, I can only say “Happy Birthday Ken and thanks for a wonderful meal”!

Katsuya Brentwood – 11777 San Vicente Boulevard, Brentwood, CA

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