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Katsu-Ya

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11680 Ventura Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 91604 818-985-6976
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You'd never guess it from the nail salons and the pet stores, but Ventura Boulevard east of Laurel Canyon is home to the highest concentration of outstanding sushi places in the United States. What the Faborg St-Honore is to fashion, these low-slung blocks are to the deep. Judging by the number of cell phones on the counter, Katsu-ya (there's a second location in Encino) is the current favorite. There's inevitably a wait. Go early, or go alone—there's always room for one even at the most crowded counter. The room is tight and loud; the sushi never degenerates into that dispiriting rote of certain popular places where the presentation of tuna, salmon, and yellowtail is nothing but a wasabi-laced blur. As habitual as salmon roe in a nori and rice bedding can become, here it seems vibrantly defined. Tamogo, the sweetened egg cake, is dense and rewarding. Cajun-style halibut cheeks on a rellis of asparagus, dusted with gumbo file and sautéed until golden brown. The other is crackling-warm rice nuggets topped with spicy hand-cut tuna. If th devil catered, this would be his calling card.
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