If a friend suggest a dinner at Katsu-ya, be very strict about it: it’s either Studio City or nothing. You might sound like a sushi nazi, and even lose a friend or two, but that’s the only way to fully appreciate the initial address that launched Katsuya Uechi’s empire. Located in the middle of nowhere on Ventura Boulevard (aka “Sushi Alley”), you’ll recognize it by the horde of paparazzi fighting for the best spot on this strip mall, waiting eagerly for Tom Hanks or Jay-Z to swallow their last sashimi. The best experience you could have at Katsu-ya is to be guided by an expert, a regular, a friend who lives or works in the area and has tried every dish over six times, and who now knows all the tricks: asking the server for sushi cut in half (to have a smaller bite), asking for extra crispy rice, etc. If, after verification, you do not have such an expert in your friends list, follow our omakase: Yellowtail sashimi with or without jalapeño, scallops with kiwi and yuzu dressing (do not judge before tasting), spicy yellowfin sashimi hidden under crispy onions, one crab roll per person (the rice is warm and the crab melts like butter — do not share this beauty!), and the spicy tuna served on a crispy rice (its texture alone could explain Katsu-ya’s success). If you end up disappointed, we’ll have no other option but to commit seppuku.
Address: 1680 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 11:30AM-2PM and 5.30-10PM, Sunday 5.30-10PM
Reservations: (818) 985-6976
Price: Approx $40 per person
Neighborhood: Studio City
Best for: Dinner