Katsuya (Houston, TX)
“Texas is About to Get Bigger”
Welcome Katsuya to Texas. On March 8th, I welcomed the newest California inspired Japanese chain to the Houston area with a nice OpenTable secured reservation at 9:30pm. Katsuya joins the ranks of Uchi, Kata Robata, Sushi King, Blue Fish, Nabi, Miyako, Azuma and other Japanese restaurants in the nearby area. Katsuya also joins the ranks of the newly constructed West Ave block of Kirby with the standout favorite Pondicheri and less popular spots in Ava, Alto and Eddie V’s.
As Annie and I made our way to Katsuya, we were already decently full from our first dinner at Feast and some cocktails at Anvil, however I wanted to check the new japanese spot out and see what LA had to offer Houston. We walked through the doors at 9:20 and were greeted to an ultra trendy, extremely faux rich vibe. Welcome to the new Washington Avenue. I felt extremely underdressed, but hell, the food should be able to stand on it’s own so I decided to order a few of their “signature” dishes.
Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno
Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna
Enoki Bacon Robata
Okra Bacon Robata
Tomato Bacon Robata
Skirt Steak Robata
Miso Marinated Black Cod
Soft Shell Crab
After putting in an order that should have showcased what Katsuya was all about we waited, and waited, and waited. I attribute the few cocktails I had at Anvil early with my patience. I can’t say the same for Annie. At the 10:20p mark, no food came to the table and I started looking around for some form of acknowledgement from the numerous management that was walking the floor or the 30 waiters or 20 food runners or 6 hostesses. A pathetic apology was given from both my waiter and management. A short while later food started to come out after they blamed their lack of service on a computer error.
The yellowtail sashimi arrived first, at first bite, the yuzu / soy sauce mixture overpowered the fish. It could have been any fish under the yuzu and I would have never known, slivers of jalapenos adorned the fish but offered zero levels of spiciness. The essential Katsuya dish arrived next. Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna was supposed to be the essential Katsuya experience and if this was the height of what Katsuya is about, I want nothing more to do with it. Rice that has spent a few minutes on the griddle top with spicy tuna and a sliver of jalapeno on top. I’ve never eaten at a Katsuya in California and I have no idea if their idea of spice starts with tobasco or starts with this pathetic sliver of jalapenos but there was zero heat level to this dish. I’ve had better spicy tuna with more spice and more flavor from HEB. At least at HEB I got 8 pieces that cost me $5 as opposed to $14 for the Katsuya version. Following this trainwreck, the robata fare started to arrive. Eggplant, Mushrooms, Okra and Tomato. The latter three arrived in wonderful bacon wrapped form and tasted as such. It’s bacon, if you screw up bacon, you should have your Texas card revoked. Luckily, they didn’t screw it up. I can’t say the same for the dry lifeless eggplant though. Skip that one, or alternatively get it wrapped in bacon. Miso Marinated Cod, Soft Shell Crab, Sushi Sampler and Veggie Tempura arrived in order. My favorite dish of the night was the Miso Marinated Cod, nice and soft texture, and the flavor was actually nice.
Avoid the sushi at all costs. Seriously. If you respect yourself, avoid the sushi.
#fail in a pretty package.
2800 Kirby Drive
Houston, TX 77098