Service staff greet you (in unison) with the phrase “Irasshaimse” (Japanese for welcome) as you step into the restaurant, making for a pretty friendly welcome to Katsuya, brainchild of master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi and design icon Philippe Starck.
Katsuya opened in Jumeirah Al Naseem in May this year, though some may remember the outlet from Dubai Mall, which closed last August to make way for the Apple store (rumour has it they are returning to the mall within the next 12 months).
The menu offers a good selection of dishes you would expect from a Japanese restaurant, and the knowledgeable staff are happy to advise.
First up was crispy rice with spicy tuna - the combination of warm and cold working well and the spice hitting you when you least expect it, explaining why it’s the dish Katsuya is most known for. The surprise though was the Brussel sprouts, not just in presentation but also flavour. Think a hearty portion of peeled Brussels, flash fried with fish flakes and toasted almonds, in a balsamic soy sauce. Appetisers would be incomplete without the edamame hummus. Exclusive to Katsuya in this region, the traditional hummus gets an upgrade with the addition of edamame and an olive and tomato dressing, providing flavour in a subtle way while retaining the texture.
While our main of wagyu filet with foie gras didn’t disappoint, it was the miso marinated cod that got our attention. The sweetness of the miso matched the plumpness of the cod resulting in a pretty perfect dish. The chicken robata, accompanied with rice and sweet soy bop sauce with five different mushrooms, was succulent and just as tasty without the Yakitori sauce.
Since sushi is the star of this LA-born brand, the venue boasts a sushi kitchen that serves up a fantastic selection of classic and specialty rolls (proof: The Hollywood one).
As tasty as the dishes are, some lean towards the pricey side. However, there are plenty options on the menu to be able to manage an affordable meal. Expect to pay about Dhs 300 per person, including a mocktail (or Elixir as they prefer to call them). Call 04-4190676.