SBE’s footprint on Los Angeles is massive. From the SLS Hotel, to XIV, to recent acquisition Gladstone’s, the entertainment behemoth (and one time employer of Heidi Montag!)’s influence on LA nightlife has been impressive. One of their biggest successes, Katsuya, has been duplicated from its original Phillipe Starck-incarnation in Brentwood to locations in Hollywood, Glendale, and LA Live.
While the Brentwood location has long been one of my favorite go-to restaurants for a weekend night with nothing planned, my most recent trip unfortunately demonstrated some of the growing cracks of an SBE empire-in-decline. The menus were worn down from overuse, the decor had early hints of aging, and at least 4 tables remained empty the entire evening (unheard of for a Friday night). While these may seem like very minor problems, they’re embarrassing issues for a restaurant that justifies its higher prices on its cool-factor.
While the unsightly evidence of aging has taken its tole, Katsuya is still one of my places to grab some of the best Japanese LA has to offer. There’s nothing that makes me more excited to get off work than the promise of a Katsuya Fresh (a vodka, lime, and cucumber concoction), Spicy Tuna and Crispy Rice, Yellowtail with Jalapeno, Albacore with Crispy Onion, and Rock Shrimp Tempura. As long as the food stays great, and SBE invests in a bit of botox for one of its aging flagships, it’ll remain one of my favorite places in the city.
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