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Katsu-Ya a Cut Above the Rest

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Sushi lovers all over LA tend to favor Studio City's Katsu-ya when it comes to traditional and fresh sushi. While there's often a long wait for a table, whether for lunch or dinner, diners don't have to deal with the reputed militant chef of neighboring Nozawa. Of course, Katsu-ya and their outstanding quality are not news, but more like new to us; recently we snagged a table in this extremely popular Valley spot, and sampled their sushi for the first time. So we're giving this top-rated spot a full review, and not just a casual mention.

Though we tend to prefer a menu that allows us to mix and match inventive (but not heavy, greasy, or deep-fried as say nearby Sushi Dan's) rolls with cuts of nigiri sushi, we noticed right away from both their regular menu and their specials board that Katsu-ya doesn't get fussy with their rolls. They offer a good blend of basic sushi and creative dishes that aren't all wrapped in seaweed paper. We oredered up some nigiri sushi (salmon, tuna, fresh water eel, spanish mackrel, octopus), the Rainbow Roll, and their Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice. The fish was phenomenal; real melt-in-your mouth texture and quality. The Rainbow Roll, which we don't normally jump for joy over anywhere else, was mercifully topped with those same cuts of tuna and salmon (pictured) which made it more noteworthy than we usually find such a roll to be. Our extremely aggressive server steered us towards the Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice, which, according to her is what brings the people in by droves. It certainly was tasty, although not necessarily our favorite dish. We had been lucky to get a table after only a couple of minutes' wait, but next time we'll be sure to call ahead to save our spot. Next time we'll be up at that bar, ready to take on more of Katsu-ya's splendid sushi.

Katsu-ya 11680 Ventura Boulevard (818) 985-6976. Reservations recommended.