Katsu Sushi - Part 2
So... I got some flack a month ago for calling Katsu on Beverly Dr. for dinner, then driving by looking for parking, and noticing it was empty and driving off. Yes I called and cancelled.
Tonight I went back.
Again empty. A couple at the counter was paying their bill. It was 9:15pm. I sat at the counter and ordered omakase.
Monk fish liver was decent. A plate of salmon roe, conch in a shell, shrimp and an albacore "ball" was decent. Yellow tail sashimi, with ponzu, diced jalapenos and crunchy onion with salt (salt and ponzu???) was WAY too salty and not great, not to mention boring.
Then the sushi. Nice, chunky pieces, looked good. Blue fin toro was somewhat chewy and oddly semi-crunchy (like it was too cold). Albacore, yellowtail, japanese mackerel, spanish mackerel were pretty good. Amberjack was chewy and not great. A few more that don't realy stand out.
As I was getting full, I mentioned how good the salmon roe was. The chef offered me a round of salmon roe sushi. I asked about the octopus. He looked at me in a somewhat pained expression and shook his head. Ok, skip that. What about the Amaebi. A quick shaking of the head put that notion to rest. Then I asked about Uni, which, I thought odd as chefs usually offer that at some point. He nodded and went to his fridge, grabbed it, looked at it, called his young assistant, examined it together, muttered things and put it back. He looked at me, again in a pained expression, and shook his head.
Ok, skip that too. I had a nice crab handroll and some fruit, polished my sake and tea and that was that. $80 dollars for the sushi, two sake carafes = $30. Not sure how I felt about paying that for ok sushi, but didn't feel violated either (unlike Mori where all the fish tasted the same and sushi cost me $130?!)
Last time I posted about Katsu some chowhounds said that I was wrong assuming that an empty sushi restaurant meant questionable sushi quality. The fish tonight wasn't bad, decent at best, but chewy toro and too many shakes of the head doesn't really convince me that my initial question was that off the mark.
The sushi chef was very friendly, and I shared some sake with him. We spoke about Japan, the state of sushi in LA, etc. Very attentive staff. A not unpleasant experience in all honesty. But the fact that they barely have a lunch service and NO dinner clientele doesn't bode well, unfortunately, for either their quality or their future.
Always sad to hear about places where the itamae is good, but there is no business.
At least he was honest about quality-control.
Thanks for reporting back! It's great that you gave the place a second chance, at least now you know for sure what the food is like. But I think the part about his shaking his head and not serving you is a good sign. It shows that he has pride in his food and won't serve stuff just because the client asks for it like many Ita-sans would do.