By Jill Weinlein, 7/05/2012
As I turned into an underground parking structure and left my keys with a valet, the sexy Katana experience begins at the elevator. Riding up to the restaurant, the door opened, and I was greeted by three attractive hostesses dressed in black. I made a mental note; one must be beautiful to be hired at Katana. Looking good in a black mini skirt helps too.
My group was seated on the front patio facing the energetic Sunset Blvd.
The restaurant is located in a beautiful 1920s building that shares space with Miramax Films. Originally built as an apartment building for the entertainment elite, you never know who you might see while sitting in comfortable chairs next to heaters and flaming tiki torches.
The restaurant is dark and cozy allowing guests to snuggle up while sharing sushi and sake together.
Katana is different than most Japanese restaurants with its open robata grill. A robata is an ancient style of Japanese cooking with skewers.
This restaurant is known for its sake, Japanese beer, wine and creative cocktails. We started with a luscious Asian Blonde cocktail mixed with Voli vodka, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, pear purée and fresh grapes. Later, we had a ginger lychee mojito with Bacardi rum, fresh mint, lychee, ginger and lime juice. Both go nicely with the slightly fiery Shishito peppers. These green peppers are about the length of a finger and placed on a robata. About one in ten were spicy hot, the others mild. The dish was adorned with thin strips of fish flakes to give it a slightly salty flavor.
Hama Hama oysters were served with creative cubes of tomato gelée that tasted like bite-size pieces of jellied V8 juice.
The decadent lobster medallion is topped with black truffles in a cherry port soy vinaigrette. The baked filo basket filled with Kani (fresh crab meat) and topped with a dollop of yuzu (citrus) aioli and caviar was simply divine.
Try the miso popcorn shrimp with asparagus and mushrooms, or the tuna carpacio with arugula, avocado and sprinkled with a truffled soy sauce. Both were winners at our table.
We ordered various robata dishes, including skewers with a tray of three dipping sauces. The Kurobuta pork sausage went nicely with the Japanese Karashi mustard, and the Chilean sea bass dipped in ponzu citrus sauce was succulent and tender. For those who enjoy pork ribs, the Kurobuta pork ribs bathed in a soy garlic barbecue sauce were so tender that they slid off the bones.
Bowls of miso soup arrived with generous pieces of King crab legs to be followed by a platter of sushi rolls. We tried the Kobe beef tanaguchi rolls with avocado and the Kani Maki rolls filled with crabmeat and pretty white lotus rolls decorated with white and black sesame seeds and filled with albacore and drizzled with soy truffle oils.
This is one of the few Japanese restaurants in town that offers scrumptious desserts. Since we were celebrating a special occasion, a flaming sparkler was placed inside a shot glass of champagne sorbet . Surrounding the centerpiece was a chocolate volcano cake, fresh pieces of fruit, French vanilla ice cream, various flavors of mochi ice cream and a fabulous fruit pastry basket, a sparkling ending to a fabulous meal. $$ The bar opens at 5 p.m. and many times closes around 1 a.m. Dinner service begins at 6 p.m. 8439 Sunset Blvd. (323)650-8585.