It hasn’t grabbed the spotlight, but the Katsuya experience is worth a look

Katsuya’s slick interior makes the restaurant look smaller than it is, and maybe the same can be said for the diverse menu.

With an established, stylish sushi-restaurant empire crafted by chef Katsuya Uechi and designer Philippe Starck, Katsuya came to Las Vegas last year with high hopes of becoming a high-profile dining destination. But the Strip is stacked with similar restaurants, and the SLS resort is also loaded with interesting eats. What seemed like a sure-fire success has gotten somewhat lost in the shuffle.

Does that mean you should skip it? Not at all.

Katsuya hammers the classics, the dishes every contemporary sushi house claims as signatures. Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeños ($21) is appropriately refreshing. Crispy rice topped with spicy tuna ($18) doesn’t bring as much of that familiar heat, but it’s more rich and satisfying than most. Miso-marinated black cod ($32) is exactly how it should be, slight sweetness embracing buttery fish. Your favorite bites of sashimi or nigiri and familiar rolls also deliver consistency. If those are the cornerstones of your sushi experience, you’ll be happy here.

Wafu Carbonara, foreground and Scallop Sashimi at Katsuya in the SLS Las Vegas Monday, Oct. 26, 2015.

But as is the case at SLS’ other stellar restaurants, there are some risks being taken at Katsuya, and that keeps things interesting. Scallop sashimi ($17) contrasts the raw shellfish’s clean chew with accents of apple and watercress and a blindingly bright green sauce that falls somewhere between ponzu and salsa verde, each bite topped with a bit of tongue-tickling green chile paste. Octopus carpaccio ($19) mingles with lemon and herb relish.

Wagyu sashimi ($18), barely seared tiles of paper-thin beef swimming in oily sauce, ginger and chives, is worth a double order. From the impressive robata menu, hone in on meaty maitake mushrooms ($13) mounted on a swath of garlic aioli, sukiyaki-style A4-graded beef ($25) and crackling pork belly ($13), each offering infused with smooth smoke. If you need a big dish, Katsuya does plenty more beef, like a Wagyu filet with foie gras and plum-wine reduction ($39), or consider the Wafu Carbonara ($16), something different with ramen noodles simmering in soy, dotted with slow-cooked bacon and topped with a poached egg.

Katsuya’s slick interior makes the restaurant look smaller than it is, and maybe the same can be said for the diverse menu, which also offers salads, tempura, ceviche, fried rice, seafood yakisoba ($27) and tasting menus encompassing hot and cold dishes or traditional sushi-only omakase. As we’ve explored all the SLS restaurants, we’ve learned there’s a lot of tastiness going on under the surface. Katsuya keeps that trend going.

Katsuya SLS, 702-761-7611. Sunday, Monday & Thursday, 6-10:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 6-11 p.m.

Tags: Dining, Food
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Brock is an award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently leads entertainment ...

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