Thursday marked Katsuya’s first official night open at the SLS South Beach. The LA import is a collaboration of sushi chef Katsuya Uechi and prolific designer Philippe Starck. Housed in the Art Deco hotel’s former ballroom, the gallery-like space is awash in white floor-to-ceiling curtains, tables & chairs. Oversized photographs of stylized geishas and a hot pink staircase leading to the Dragon Lounge add pops of color while a bustling sushi counter and black-clad servers chant Japanese welcomes (“ira-shamase”) and thank yous (“arigato gozaimasu”) add energy.
Sushi, hot dishes and robata compose the six-page menu helmed by chef Dustin Atoigue (the Delano). Dishes are served family-style and prices are in line with the flashy crowd: Rolls average $16, starters $17 and mains up to $30. A $25 prix-fixe menu blends miso soup, rice, salad, a main and mochi while a $28 Katsuya bento includes miso cod, vegetable & shrimp tempura and sashimi.
Signature dishes include the baked crab hand roll wrapped in soy paper (pictured above) and crispy rice topped with spicy tuna. Other items include seared kiwi scallops dressed with yuzu vinaigrette, refreshing tempura salmon rolls topped with salmon sashimi and preserved Meyer lemon (lead photo), creamy rock shrimp tempura rolls and a mushroom salad blending shiitake, hen of the woods, enoki and hon shimeji mushrooms. Cooked offerings include grilled okra, asparagus and tomato wrapped in bacon, Kobe filet topped with lobes of foie gras and “stripped baze,” fried bass smothered in a fiery Szechuan sauce (pictured below). Desserts include vanilla, chocolate, mango and green tea mochi ice cream dumplings, doughnuts in a passion fruit sauce and a pastry shell filled with baked Fuji apple, almond cookies and vanilla gelato.