Gluten-Free In Lost Angeles: Katsu-ya

Katsu-yaGoing without sushi for months is excruciating. I was more than willing to oblige Dawn’s desire for sushi for dinner one night after bringing Mara Jade home. She chose Katsu-ya for takeout.

The restaurant has horrible reviews for its service in the restaurant, but great reviews for the food. I don’t think any of us would’ve handled poor service well that night. My order wasn’t my usual long list of maki rolls and nigiri since Chaz and I ate a late lunch that day.

Chaz and I used to eat Japanese food a lot in the days before I went gluten-free. The last four years I’ve stuck with sushi and sashimi. We are spoiled by our local sushi chef, Ken, who gets his fish direct and not through a middle-man. That’s an important thing out here in the Midwest. It means fresher fish which in turn means non-fishy tasting fish. Every Japanese restaurant we go to with friends and gets compared to Ken and his restaurant. Most never measure up. The last time we had sushi in California, two years ago, we weren’t impressed. Sometimes you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best.

My order was simple, Chirashi sushi. Basically sashimi served over sushi rice in a bowl. Honestly, simple sushi is the way it was meant to be. Not sushi with all the sauces, fried tempura, and cream cheese. Really, cream cheese in sushi is an abomination. I’m not saying you’re doing it wrong if you like the extras in your sushi. I’m just saying all that extra stuff runs counter to the intent of sushi. You should be able to taste the fish, rice, and vegetables, not all the crazy stuff added to it to appease Western appetites.

The tako (octopus) was tender, which is rare to find. My big test is the salmon. Truly fresh salmon will feel like butter in your mouth with just a hint of the taste of salmon. Katsu-ya passed my salmon test. I only wish I had thought to order more because once my sushi was gone, I was one sad Debi.

I’d be happy to order takeout from Katsu-ya the next time we visit.

Anyone else in the mood for sushi now?

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