Japanese fare served in high style at Katsuya by Starck in San Diego

Story and Photos By Kelley Carlson

To attract foodies and casual diners alike, Katsuya’s San Diego location recently scaled down the size of its menu — described as “Japanese fare catered to the American palate, but with a unique concentration on San Diego tastes” — along with some of the price points and made subtle alterations to the decor.

Chirashi Sushi is thin slices of fish over rice with ginger and sesame.

“We are beyond excited to introduce our new menu, which pairs Katsuya’s sophistication with the fun-loving community of San Diego,” Assistant General Manager Pouria Malihi said in a news release. “We want customers to feel like they can dine at Katsuya in flip-flops after a ball game or in heels and cocktail attire before a night out downtown.”

Located in a 6,000-square-foot space that’s part of the Andaz Hotel, the restaurant is upbeat and chic, yet casual.

Decorated by renowned designer Philippe Starck, the rooms have bold, contrasting colors, but they’re softened by the glow of candles, large Japanese lanterns and illuminated geisha images. The establishment is further enhanced by small details, such as pink and silver Maneki Neko cats.

Social hour is observed in the lounge, where guests can get comfortable on loveseats or make a new acquaintance at the bar. Mirrored columns boast flat-screen TVs that broadcast athletic events. Another place for interaction is the sushi bar, where patrons can witness chefs preparing rolls of rice with vegetables and raw seafood. “You get the energy of the kitchen,” Sous Chef Jason Velasquez said.

Seating for dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. For special occasions, there is a semi-private mezzanine with ornate mirrors on patterned red walls, shielded from inquisitive eyes by white, flowing curtains; and a private atrium with an open skylight that permits a peek into the heart of the Andaz.

To ease into the dining experience, some guests sip on the new “Local Libation Cocktails” such as 6th & F, a brilliant red beverage with Akvinta Vodka, muddled lychees and raspberries, pineapple juice, squeezed lemon and a splash of St. Germain. Or they may opt for one of the many wines and beers, including Japanese Sapporo and Stone Brewing Co. selections.

Crispy Soft-Shelled Crab with tartar sauce and chili ponzu

There are also premiere sakes; the Sasaichi brewery created one especially for the restaurant titled Katsuya Sake-Victory, which incorporates water from Mount Fuji. All of the Katsuya locations (six in the United States, and another planned in Dubai) share the same base menu, a showcase of Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi’s style.
For example, there’s Sauteéd Shishito Peppers (an average of one in 10 are spicy!) and a Crispy Soft-Shelled Crab that can be dipped in tartar sauce and chili ponzu. And there’s Robata, in which skewers of vegetables, meats or seafood are grilled over special Japanese charcoal.

Yet there are a handful of selections that are exclusive to the San Diego site. One is the Double Double Roll that has a bit of zing, with rice, spicy yellowtail, spicy kanikama and cucumber rolled together and topped with more yellowtail, onion ponzu and Serrano chili. Another is the Chirashi Sushi — thin slices of fish over rice with ginger and sesame.

A favorite of the chefs are the new sliders, which come in four varieties: Teriyaki Portobello, Wagyu, Spicy Pork Belly and Shrimp Gratin Croquette.

Possibly the most popular “newcomer” is the BOP, in which servers bring sizzling rice hot pots to the diner’s table and then mix in sweet-soy BOP sauce with Japanese mushroom, braised short rib or pork bulgogi. An additional dish to be noted is the tender and juicy 6-ounce Wagyu Ribeye, served over maitake mushrooms with truffle butter.

For dessert, there are sweet treats such as mini crème brûlées; mochi, a confection made from pounded sticky rice and filled with ice cream in flavors such as mango and strawberry; and the Caramel Apple — warm Fuji apples and rum raisins in a phyllo dough basket, topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

In the near future, diners will be able to select an Omakase menu, in which courses will be specially tailored to their desires.

Seating for dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. in the dining room.

Katsuya by Starck
Address: 600 F Street, San Diego

Phone: (619) 814-2000

Web: sbe.com/katsuya
The Vibe: Chic, upbeat, relaxed
Signature Dishes: Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, Special Katsuya Roll
Open Since: 2012
Reservations: Yes
Patio Seating: Yes
Takeout: Yes
Social Hour: 4-7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close Monday through Saturday; 4 p.m. to close Sunday

Hours: 4 p.m. to close daily

On The Menu Recipe

Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at lajollalight.com. Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story.

This week: Katsuya’s Shishito Peppers

Related posts:

  1. Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza satisfies with a menu loaded with variety
  2. Sharing’s in the spotlight at The Promiscuous Fork in La Jolla
  3. Rocky’s: A bar with burgers and brews to boast about
  4. Roy Yamaguchi’s Pacific Rim Cuisine in La Jolla reinvents its fusion fare
  5. Smart prices and products behind new dining concept at Urban Plates in Carmel Valley

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=110590

Posted by Staff on Jul 23, 2013. Filed under Food, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Del Mar couple to present program about Bhutan at Solana Beach Library September 1, 2014
    Join cultural anthropologist and photographer Roger Harmon and his wife, Nancy, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, in the Solana Beach Library for a free presentation of their travels to Bhutan through slides and artifacts. […]
  • Carmel Valley Boy Scouts climb Mount Whitney September 1, 2014
    Several boys from Boy Scout Troop 765 (Carmel Valley) made the climb to the tallest peak in the contiguous 48 states this summer. They spent the summer hiking the tallest peaks of Southern California, preparing for their hike of Mount Whitney. These peaks included Mount Baldy, Mount San Jacinto, and Mount San Gorgonio. The boys made the 22-mile round-trip tr […]
  • Multimillion-dollar renovation complete at Hilton San Diego Del Mar September 1, 2014
    Hilton San Diego Del Mar announces the completion of its multimillion-dollar renovation. Funded by Wheelock Street Capital and Sage Hospitality, the hotel’s completed renovation includes the lobby, business center, fitness center, restaurant, meeting spaces and all 257 guest rooms. “This renovation has truly transformed the Hilton San Diego Del Mar property, […]