Is It Any Good?

Japanese at…at…oh, never mind.

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I’ll be perfectly blunt. I can’t stand Katsuya.

Katsu-ya is another matter, and apparently that little dash makes all the difference.

Let me explain. Katsu-Ya is a perfectly decent restaurant. Katsu-Ya is the original iteration of this restaurant chain. It’s perfectly lovely. It’s Katsuya by Starck that I can’t stand:

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…

But all that, that just made me nervous about Katsuya by Starck. What really did it for me (in a bad way) was the night I couldn’t find a parking space at the Americana and Katsuya by Starck decided their phones just weren’t a priority anymore:

Still, Katsuya didn’t cover itself in glory either. 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. Just for that, I don’t need to go to Katsuya ever again.

It’s just the symptom of a restaurant that’s grown from being slightly obnoxious and overly self-absorbed, to a Restaurant that just doesn’t give a damn. You’re showing up no matter what we do, why bother with actually giving a @#$% about you a customer?

Fine. Katsuya by Starck has made their decision. I’ve made mine. Good luck when you visit here, you’re going to need it.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: You couldn’t pay me to eat here. If you want some Sushi go find the original Katsu-ya.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: I’ve started to see a slight slight trend in Restaurants with prime locations. They just stop trying after a while. They don’t bother to try. After all, you’re coming in anyway, whether they make you good food or not. So why bother with the whole “We want to make sure you have a wonderful time”…thing?


PARKING: Don’t get me started.


Katsuya by Starck (Americana Center)
702 Americana Way
Glendale, CA 91210

Tel: (818) 741-2701

Sunday-Thursday: 11:30 am – 9:00 pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm