Is It Any Good?

The Katsuya by Starck branch at L.A. Live.

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If you’ve read this site on an ongoing basis, you know I have an issue with Katsuya by Starck, at least in the Americana Center, as being general pains in my you know what.

And mind you, I’m talking Katsuya by Starck not Katsuya.

Oh, what’s the difference?

Let me explain…again:

The original Katsu-Ya (notice I’m not saying Katsuya) was a little hole in the wall Sushi Joint in Studio City, fronted by one Katsuya Uechi (wow, what a coincidence!) of Okinawa. His original restaurant has an incredible rep on both sides of the Hollywood sign, and getting into his place was hand-to-hand combat at times. Never mind that it was impossible to find a place to park.


But the Sushi was dynamite. If you were going to try Sushi for the first time, this is where you wanted that first experience to be. It was heavenly.


Then around 2006, somebody (I’m not saying who…because I don’t know) brought Starck into the mix. (The whole story can be found here.)


Now, I don’t know who Starck is, or what he (or she) does, but he (or she) managed to turn what was an authentic feeling Japanese Sushi joint into a National Business Concern. Problem is in joining up with Starck, all the stuff I loved about Katsu-Ya went away when they opened as Katsuya by Starck.

And then there was the matter of the utter disaster of an evening that Katsuya by Starck contributed to:

Needless to say, when it became apparent that I wasn’t going to get a space in the garage, I tried to cancel my reservation over the phone. This is what you’re supposed to do when…you know…you’re raised right. Repeated calls to the restaurant could not connect me to a human. Repeated calls could not even connect me to whatever worthless automated system they had. Even dialing “1” to reach the reservation system did absolutely nothing, the message just played on an on.


At this point I was mad enough that I wanted to cancel my reservation to someone’s face. I don’t know if this is an Americana problem or a Katsuya problem, and I don’t really care. What was a Katsuya problem is that the two Hostesses at Katsuya there did not seem to care all that much that their phones weren’t working, and just seemed to accept it as a matter of course.

So given this sordid history, one might be surprised that I decided to venture into the L.A. Live branch of Katsuya by Starck. One might be surprised that I decided to venture into L.A. Live at all…period. But I needed something to eat, and driving out another half mile and spending yet another ten bucks seemed like an unseemly waste of money.

So…buck up, suck it up…walk on over to L.A. Live. Maybe it’ll be better this time.

Ehhh, not really.

Still, not wasting the money, let’s find a place to go get yourself some gr—I’m just gonna wind up in Katsuya again, aren’t I?


Okay, I went in, and it…wasn’t bad. No, scratch that. It didn’t suck, but I’m not clamoring for a return visit. The staff was all friendly and nice. I was able to get a seat in the nearly deserted dining room (Everyone else was outside, enjoying the sun). I had my meal and left.

Wow. Total drama, huh?

Did this visit change my mind about Katsuya by Starck? Not so much. Did it change my mind about L.A. Live?

Hell and no.

Could I at least get a bite if my life depended on it? Yeah, I supposed, but then again…I knew that before I got there, right?


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: To tell you how utterly memorable the meal was, the thing I got here was the Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, and…and…

And I can’t remember. It was…Chickensomething.

NO! This is not a good sign. I should be able to remember this stuff.

Anyway, I got a Sapporo on top of that, which on a hot day went over damn good.

Geez! What was that second dish?


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: This might be minor point, but…the time of day I went, the sun was striking the Katsuya side of the L.A. Live complex. Heck, just walking through there was like walking across a field of solar mirrors. How the folks were able to eat outside during all that escaped me. I just thank God I had sunglasses on.


PARKING: More plentiful than in days gone by, but still expensive. Be prepared to shell out anywhere from $5 to $15 bucks depending on where you wind up.

To be of further help, we are adding a L.A. Live/Downtown Parking Guide for you assistance.


Katsuya by Starck (L.A. Live)
800 W Olympic Blvd, Suite 118
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Tel: (213) 747-9797

Monday-Thursday, Sun 5 pm – 10 pm
Tuesday-Saturday 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Friday-Saturday 5 pm – 11 pm