Thursday, Dec 14, 2017
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You can never have too much Katsuya

Siamak Shafa: So many options to be had

You can never have too much Katsuya, so if anyone says to me where do you want to dine nowadays, Katsuya is a top recommendation, because honestly there are so many options to be had and I’ve barely made a dent in the menu offerings. And as much of a sushi junkie as I am, I have yet to even put a dent into their sushi offerings, or barely scratched the Japanese charcoal robata offerings — actually, for as many times as I’ve dined at Katsuya, there are many menu items that I haven’t tried. And that could be owing to the fact that when I come across a favorite item, sometimes I find it difficult to give it up, and I gravitate towards it every time I visit. Despite this I also know that if you don’t eat your way through a menu, you never know what’s going to become another favorite.

And as Katsuya General Manager Siamak Shafa has said to me on many a visit, there are so many options to be had.

We have some nice items that the chef has prepared with a little twist. Katsuya-style to some of the traditional things that we have here on the island.

On a recent visit, with family in tow (sister Cornesha had decreed that she wanted her birthday dinner at Katsuya) I just knew that I was hitting up Katsuya with the intention of eating Omakase — an expression used at sushi restaurants which means leaving the selection to the chef. It differs from ordering a la carte and in which the chef will generally present a series of plates, beginning with the lightest fare and proceeding to the heaviest, richest dishes. By the time I had the menu in my hand I had so deviated from the plan, but at the same time I ventured into new territory.

Dining at Katsuya lends itself to sharing, so in ordering my family took into account that chopsticks other than our own would probably end up in each other’s plates, so they left it up to me to do the ordering. I went with the crispy Brussels sprouts with balsamic, soy and toasted almonds; yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno; Japanese octopus carpaccio; Katsuya signature miso-marinated black cod; seafood yaki soba, a ramen noodle stir fry with green onion and golden chives; lamb chops from the Japanese charcoal grill; Hamachi collar and Kakuni pork belly.

Katsuya did not fail to disappoint, and I was even pleasantly surprised to realize that I kept returning to the bowl of crispy Brussels sprouts. In all my years, that was the first Brussels sprouts item that I came across that had me digging in for seconds and thirds, and just plain wanting more.

As to be expected, the yellowtail with the hint of spice from the jalapeno was perfect; and the Japanese octopus carpaccio was a true delight to the tastebuds. (The only disappointment was due to having to share, I probably only had two slices to myself.)

With miso-marinated black cod, one of my favorite things to eat, Katsuya could not go wrong. And for those people that have never eaten Hamachi collar, the next time you’re at Katsuya, or anywhere that offers this delightful offering from the fish — order it, you won’t be disappointed. And the fatty goodness of the pork belly had me singing to the gods.

We ended the meal with a birthday plate that our waiter Chase put together that consisted of the baba rum (robata pineapple, Bahamian spiced rum, and rum raisin ice cream); the miso molten chocolate (avocado mousse, chocolate soil, pistachio “snow”), and green tea ice cream; as well as a couple of mocha-doki ice creams which meant there was something on the plate to delight everyone.

While the food offerings are stellar, there’s so much more to the Katsuya experience, including the restaurant’s ambiance. The venue lends itself to different experiences while dining.

The main dining room has so much energy coming off the casino floor that it seems to be the epicenter with the sushi bar right in the middle. The chandelier room is a little more intimate when you’re thinking date night, as the white décor and the couches lends itself to sexy. The robata room is a little tucked away, and almost like a hidden gem, but it’s where they have their Japanese traditional charcoal grill; and then there’s the outside dining which really lends itself to what the island is all about — the breeze coming in off the ocean, with one side off the casino and the other side off the pool allowing diners to have two separate experiences simultaneously.

“You can have a little more casual dining experience outside, and more of a formal kind of fun experience inside,” said Shafa off the Katsuya dining experiences.

Since its opening, the general manager says the feedback has been overwhelming and positive.

“Everyone’s embraced us and we’re really happy for that, and we’re happy to be here and bring another aspect to the island, a positive one of course.”

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