I can’t put it any more plainly than this – I’m a fan of Katsuya, again!
Not only has the restaurant reopened in a COVID-19 environment, but it’s done so with the purpose of grabbing the attention of its fans who may have fallen by the wayside. And I speak from experience, because I don’t think there was a bigger Katsuya fan than me. When this restaurant made its debut at Baha Mar in 2017, the offerings that translated Japanese flavors for the Western palate were absolutely phenomenal. But as it grew in popularity and over time, somewhere along the way – with the change in chefs and every new person coming in putting their own stamp on some things – the food offerings began to lag for me and I found myself enticed away. Now, with the reopening of the SLS Baha Mar coming out of 2020, the Katsuya team has returned with a vengeance to win back fans like myself with refreshed menu items coexisting with signature staples.
And they’ve pulled it off, presenting a feast for the senses!
Two months after Katsuya reopened its doors, I visited with an agenda that I promised myself I would stick to, and that was to absolutely not order any of my tried and true favorites, and that I would leave myself open to the experience.
I have a couple of favorite servers at Katsuya, one of them is Rashad Moss (Chase was off), who has been with the restaurant since day one. We chatted about the menu and he was excited to lead me on my exploratory adventure which began with a selection of starters – beef tataki (lightly seared with garlic ponzu), salmon tataki (thinly sliced, with yuzu miso and jalapeno salsa), salmon tacos (with spicy miso and jalapeno salsa) and lobster tacos (with butter garlic, avocado and tofu aioli). On a point of order, I had occasion to taste the salmon tacos prior to Katsuya’s reopening and it was one of those gorgeous items that you will return for time and again. Honestly, it was such a beautiful thing that I simply could not resist – a crunchy taco houses silky salmon tossed in a spicy miso sauce, topped with guacamole aioli for a creamy texture and caviar. Juicy and flavorful.
And trust me on this one, order the salmon tataki with yuzu miso. Buttery salmon sits in a dressing that provides a burst of flavor making your tastebuds zing. You won’t want to share this one.
The lobster tacos with butter garlic, avocado and tofu aioli, actually give the salmon tacos a run for their money.
The beef tataki is one step away from raw. The thinly sliced beef is lightly seared and made with the garlic ponzu sauce.
Robata grill offerings aren’t to be missed, and the beef short ribs with barbecue sauce are a thing of beauty. The short ribs as expected were fork tender, but were made something special by Katsuya’s barbecue sauce; you will want to lap up every bit of it.
The king crab with chive butter that also comes from the robata grill is a definite treat. Sweet king crab is paired with chive butter for an absolutely luscious experience.
With the goal uppermost in mind to only have new experiences (except for that one lapse with the salmon tacos) I went with the toro jalapeno – seared Otoro sashimi, Russian caviar, and onion ponzu.
Where do I begin with this dish that’s an absolute luxury that features an exceptional piece of fish and is worth every penny? Let me just say you get the most excellent part of the bluefin tuna, so it’s soft and creamy and literally melts in the mouth. The tuna is topped with a decadent dollop of Russian Osetra caviar and served with a refreshing onion style ponzu and thinly sliced cucumbers for a little crunch, and finished beautifully with edible gold flakes for a touch of elegance.
I vacillated with my mains, intrigued by the thought of a ramen, but ultimately went with the Chilean seabass roasted with ginger soy and coriander. When you find Chilean seabass on a menu, don’t overlook it. When properly cooked, this white flaky fish has a smooth and buttery feel and taste and paired well with the ginger soy and coriander.
Dining with my hubby, I nabbed a bite of his cowboy steak, a 24-ounce American Wagyu ribeye that was cooked to a perfect medium rare temperature, which he paired with sweet corn with shichimi citrus butter and asparagus with yuzu aioli from the robata grill.
Katsuya’s chefs have definitely brought the new and exciting to tried and true staples to “blow your mind”.
My mind is blown!
As an aside, there are a few menu items I’ve set my sights on exploring that I haven’t had before, which include the eggplant with miso glaze; king crab tempura with amazu (Japanese sweet and sour sauce), red onion, serrano chili and cilantro; the Wagyu gyoza with pickled cabbage and black garlic ponzu; the shoyu ramen (broth with beef tenderloin and a marinated egg); and a sushi roll or two, with some sashimi pieces thrown in, but after the otoro sashimi, I’m spoiled – for life!