Is It Any Good?

High-end Sushi in Glendale, and other locales.

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Katsu Ya on Foodio54

The truth of the matter is I don’t like this

Okay.  (Deep breath)

I don’t want to rip on Katsuya by Starck too much, but if you’ve ever looked at some bad L.A. Glamour magazines, stepping into this place makes you feel like you’ve stepped into an airbrushed version of reality.

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, soon to launch in Miami and Houston (yes, Dad…Houston!) Problem is in joining up with Starck, all the stuff I loved about Katsu-Ya went away when they opened as Katsuya by Starck.

The food is still good, and the original menu that I liked is still buried in there somewhere. But Katsu-Ya has definitely gone Hollywood…

The original Katsu-Ya in Studio City.

….and no, that’s not a good thing.

Katsu-Ya is still out there, and is still damn good…but if you’ve ever been confused as to what’s what…I hope this explained why.

In either case, be prepared to shell out a lot for what once was a pretty decent value for high-end Sushi preparation. If you want the good stuff, you may want to find a Katsu-Ya without the Starck Label attached of it.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: (Note: if you want the menu for Katsuya by Starck, then click here).

You’re going to make me say it?  Good rep or no, Starck or no…you’re there for the Sushi.  Anything else is a failure of nerve.  It’s going to be a first class preparation, but tell me if you still feel that way after you get your bill.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Did I mention the bill?

Also, I emphasized it in the Post, but there is a difference between Katsuya and Katsu-Ya. Same foundation different philosophies. Just know that going in.


PARKING: Depends on where you’re going. If you’re at the original Studio City Location, prepare to park on the street, or use Valets. The original location is in this little strip mall, and…simply put…there is no parking. Nope. Nada. If you’re going there right now…forget it, there is no parking. If it’s 3am and Katsu-Ya is closed, and the strip mall is empty…I’m still betting there is no parking.

At the Americana location of Katsuya, there is plenty of parking in the Americana’s Structure…sometimes.

UPDATE December 29, 2012: In case it hasn’t been made plain enough, my last evening out to Katsuya (at the Americana) was a disaster, and not likely to get better.

The original Katsu-Ya in Studio City.

11680 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604

Tel: (818) 985-6976

Monday-Friday: 11:30am – 2:00pm
Saturday: 12:00pm – 2:30pm

Monday-Thursday: 5:30pm – 10:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Sunday: 5:00pm – 9:30pm