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Little Katana (sushi) Knox-Henderson area in Dallas

Last week, we had the pleasure of dining at Yutaka Sushi Bistro which I believe is the best sushi in Dallas.

However, this week, we were on a sushi "kick" and chose to dine at Little Katana. The primary reason why we chose Little Katana was because the restaurant was highly rated on guidelive.com that I commonly agree with.

The restaurant is located in the Knox-Henderson area next door to La Sur Table. We sat at the sushi bar. The sushi counter was a cool looking cross-sectional of wood in "carmelized" sugar...like the stuff you would see in dinosaur fossilization. They had a real bar that seats maybe 5 or 6 people.

Upon sitting down at the sushi counter, I glanced at the sushi fridge, the glass showcase in which the fish is stored. Some of the fish and/or ingredients were stored in small plastic tupperware which I have never seen before in a sushi place. This should have been the first clue to leave.

The dining area didn't look like the typical sushi dining room. It looked like something out of an American restaurant where you would sit down and order a hamburger. There is a plasma screen tv on the wall which I think they should remove. The lighting for the sushi bar was too bright for a sushi bar and the dining room was too dark. Sitting at any part of the sushi bar, you get a nice view of the back room and kitchen and watch the help wash dishes.

We sat down...looked over the menu. When I go to a new ethnic restaurant, especially sushi, I start off by ordering a few rolls to see the quality and freshness. We ordered the california roll (you can't go wrong with that), a shrimp tempura roll (another safe one), and a spider roll that basically has soft shell crab. To my disarrayment, they MICROWAVED the shrimp tempura. I didn't see if they microwaved the soft shell crab but the sushi chef was cutting them up at the same time. Not to be mean or anything...but I was losing my appetite having to look at the sushi chef. On top of his lack of aesthetics, he was slow and didn't look like he knew what he was doing.

The service is so-so. There are servers and then people who run around refilling water and such. They brought out a basket of those flat, crunchy things with sesame seeds on them...except for ours was severely burnt.

The sushi chef presented our plate of sushi first without the individual small plates to eat off of with the wasabi and ginger. We sat there for a few minutes waiting for the small plates.

The California roll looked and tasted like the sushi rolls at Costco. The basic ingredients were shredded crab and rice. I didn't see anything else. There was a huge pot of rice behind the sushi chefs. That rice must have been newly cooked because our rolls were ALMOST WARM.

Of course the microwaving caused the shrimp tempura roll to be soggy. But this was the most edible of the 3 rolls.

The spider/soft shell crab rolls were hideous. The soft shell crab was shriveled.

One of the other sushi chef asked how the sushi was...so I politely answered "The freshness is questionable." He didn't say anything else but turned to his chefmate and muttered something in Japanese.

We weren't going to continue dining there any longer...we couldn't even finish the 3 rolls that we ordered. As I paid the bill, I spoke to the manager with my concerns. He asked if he could take off the shrimp tempura but I refused since we ate half of the roll. He informed me that he would rectify the situation but I seriously doubt they will change their microwaving practice.

This was one of the most gosh awful sushi experiences I have had. I can not determine if it was a bad night at the restaurant or if this was typically how the restaurant operated. I will not return to this sushi establishment and would recommend others to go elsewhere.

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  1. Sounds like you had better luck there than I did.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Scott

      I was being very nice with my review.

    2. Considering the glowing review of Little Katana on DMN, I had high expectations. The sushi was forgettable. The philly roll had an over-generous helping of cream cheese. The scallop nigiri was over-mayoed. The yellowtail roll was fishy. The appetizer sampler ($14), though, was pretty good. It came with tempura calamari (very good), Korean beef rib meat (well-flavored, though on the gristly side), water dumplngs (which were essentially fried wonton wrappers with an asian meatball inside-- good), and Seoul crepes (a fried crepe with shrimp I think-- it was ok). The food, along with a large Silver sake (served cold, ample to share among 3 people, almost like water), brought our tab to about $50+tip. No plans to go back anytime soon.

      1. While I have never eaten at the "north" location. I have eaten at the Galleria location a couple of times. I would fully agree with your review. It's unfortunate that there is no other choice when meeting people who work at Galleria and want a fast Sushi...

        1. that is weird...you start w/ rolls to see how fresh the sushi is? shouldn't you start w/ sashimi since they use the best cuts for sashimi? w/ rolls, the flavors of their sauces and all the other different ingredients muddle the taste of the fish. i always thought the best cuts go to sashimi dishes, second best cuts go to sushi, and the third best go to rolls. please correct me if i am wrong. and yes, yutaka is a very inmpressive restaurant, but i just dined at tei-tei this past thursday and that dining expereince rivals any other top sushi restaurant in n. texas.

          1 Reply
          1. re: adkim

            Yes you are correct, but not really in the case of little Katana. They are really a "Sushi Roll bar" Sushi bars that specialize in sashimi are an entire different beast and in my opinion require more artistry. Most chefs that really do a great job on sashimi really look down on "rolls" and especially down on California rolls :=)

          2. Visited Yutaka again for lunch today. Very, very good. Not sure I would give them the crown as best in Dallas though. Interested in everyone's top 5 for Sushi. And what's the place in Richardson that Kent Rathburn and others swear is the best in Dallas?

            5 Replies
            1. re: ieatdallas

              Sushi Sake is the one in Richardson, and the best place in the area for sushi, in my opinion.

              1. re: ieatdallas

                1. Sushi Sake
                2. Teppo
                3. Yutaka
                4. Tei Tei
                5. Nobu

                1. re: vktp

                  1. Sushi Sake
                  2. Piranha

                  Nobu is not even in my personal top 10.

                  1. re: vktp

                    Good list. Mine is pretty close.

                    1) sushi sake
                    2) yutaka
                    3) teppo
                    4) tei tei

                    Big gap
                    5) a mish mosh of a bunch of places (Deep Sushi, Reiyku, etc.)

                    1. re: simply_victoria

                      Reikyu came very close to making my list.

                2. adkim,
                  I start out with the rolls because if the rolls aren't good...the sashimi sure as heck aren't going to be good. That is just my philosophy. I have no idea if best cuts go to sashimi and then to the rolls, sorry about that.

                  Tei Tei is wonderful.

                  1. Genki Sushi (at Preston and Beltline) is also very good.

                    Plus, I had a similarly mediocre experience at Little Katana last week.

                    1. Sushi Yama on Forest near TI is the most authentic fool menu Japanese by far. There sushi rivals anything in Dallas, but there service pretty much sucks, but it's worth putting up with.

                      Sushi Sake
                      Masami Beltline & 75 slow but great sushi
                      Tei Tei
                      Genki looks interesting I have pasted by while going to Fadi's. I am not sure that they are actually Japanese though. The rule for good quality fish is Japanese owned first.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: irodguy

                        Masami is good. I go there for take out a lot since it is right near my house. Its a good neighborhood place. A friend of mine loves Sushi Yama, but mostly raves about their half price bento boxes.

                        1. re: irodguy

                          What you fail to mention about Sushiyama are the weekly $1 sushi specials on Tuesday and Saturday. Greatness. Bentobox on Wednesday is a steal as well.

                          Masami is a standby as well. The sushi chef there cracks me up.

                          1. re: MarcusB

                            Yes no question that $1 sushi and Bento box night are both a big draw. Bento night is the best bang for the buck. Saturday night $1 sushi is best if you just want Sushi.

                            1. re: irodguy

                              Because we were talking about it, I did half price bento night last night. The place was packed. I'm not going to rave about the sushi in the box. Boy, did they give you a lot of food. The salad combination was delicious as was the tempura shrimp and teriyaki chicken. For $10, I can't complain.

                              1. re: simply_victoria

                                Bento box night is their most packed night. The line really gets bad around 10:30 to 11ish, many area restaurant people go there after work, it stays busy until they close @ 2ish.

                                For sushi it's best to go on Saturday night. They have the $1 sushi plus all the normal stuff. Their Japanese traditional menu is awesome.

                          2. re: irodguy

                            Genki is Japanese owned (or at least has some Japanese working there). They also seem very appreciative of your business when you stop by.

                            1. re: Perramount

                              Yep Genki looked very interesting while walking by, it looked very much like the kind of place you would see in Japantown in LA or SF.

                              It's on my list to try soon.

                          3. I noticed Naan, Steel and Shinsei didn't make anyone's list. Haven't tried them or tried and didn't like?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: ieatdallas

                              When I've been to Naan and Steel I actually had maybe one roll of sushi. I focused on the actually plated food there. Naan has a good bi bim bap.

                              1. re: simply_victoria

                                Both of these are again not Japanese. In the case of Naan it's Korean, which is very close and generally okay with fish quality and of course doubles as a very good Korean restaurant.

                                The bottom line is that Japanese owned sushi bars take it personally if the fish is not right. When Naoshi owned Masami there were many times that he would taste the fish before serving shake his head and throw it out.

                                The worst examples of this would be places like Sushi Rock and Sakura which are both not bad in a pinch but serve low quality fish that is somewhat questionable. They are of course both considerably better than places like T1 which is food poisoning waiting to happen.

                                1. re: irodguy

                                  We went back to Sakura last week -- first visit in more than a year -- and it was barely passable. The yellowtail sushi was obviously old, so much so that the chef scored the surface to make it moldable over the rice. I ordered yakisoba, and it tasted and looked like bad lo mein.

                              2. re: ieatdallas

                                I've been to all 3. They are all good and likely make my top 10 or so, especially Shinsei. It's been awhile, though, so can't remember enough to give a more detailed report.

                              3. I find Genki Sushi at Beltline & Preston to be consistently excellent. I have tried many of their rolls, but I generally stick to sushi and sashimi. Their tempura vegetables are superb, and the staff are incredibly courteous and attentive. I have yet to see this place swarming with throngs of people, and I think that is a shame - very fresh fish.