Katsu-No

February 1st, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Anyone that knows me or Jen also knows of my our ridiculously deep and loyal devotion to the understated hole-in-the-strip-mall sushi mecca, Katsu-Ya (the original) of Studio City, CA. Because the room seats only about 6 and a half people, you typically spend about 45 minutes waiting in the crowded front area of the tiny room, killing a bottle of Sapporo on the indoor steps as if you were at a college apartment party, or shivering outside while eying the goods at the neighboring pet store and Domino’s Pizza. But after you finally take a seat, the superior gifts that arrive on your table make it all worth the wait, the dinky ambience, the hour in line, the fact that the waitress hit you with the Specials menu easel. Katsu-Ya is a bit like heaven.

I was bummed when new, chic, Katsu-Yas started popping up all around town. Philippe Starck designed each to feel more like lounges than restaurants. Still, it meant that Jen and I could get salmon sashimi with caviar or baked crab rolls within 10 minutes regardless of where in Los Angeles we were, and even if that meant dining while surrounded by fish novices, that was a good thing.

Last night, because I couldn’t get the idea of a baked crab roll out of my head, I suggested Katsu-Ya in Hollywood for a post-debate nosh. Being the giving woman that I am, I skipped up ahead with one person in tow to get the party a table. I walked up to the doorman. (A doorman at Katsu-Ya? Only in Hollywood.) How long would the wait be for a table?

Nothing til’ 11pm, said the doorman.

Errrr-okay, I responded, and began making my way in to give the hostess my name.

Nope, said the doorman, don’t put your name down, just um, come back then.

(What? Guess Hollywood kicks ass but won’t take names.)

At this point, the rest of my friends walked up, the party total now at eight. One is an actor, and said to the doorman with a grin, can we get a table in there?

Of course sir, said the stupid fat ugly mean awful not-Asian doorman, right this way. He proceeded to lead the party in, setting us up for non-sake drinks in a room filled with candelabras before taking us to a private table loaded up with Omakase.

(I hate that doorman. I hate Hollywood.)

My pal R.J. leaned over to me as we were seated in the private room by a bunch of young, blonde waiters: “Hoooo boy. Katsuya didn’t know they were dealing with DISGRASIAN!”

He was right. I started to formulate the scathing words that I would share with my faithful readers in mere hours. How disgusted I was with this plastic city and its ability to ruin wonderful understated things, its willingness to bastardize perfection by getting Philippe Starck to mount oversized photos of smeared geisha lips and playing loud acid jazz until midnight. In what world does a sushi empire say no to a fun, cuddly Asian sushiphile and yes to some guy that happens to be in movies sometimes?

Then I took a bite of a pristine soy paper crab roll, followed by a glug of cold booze, and forgot every word.

(We all become hypocrites in Hollywood.)

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