I got invited over the weekend to Katsuya in Avenues. Honestly, I’m not a huge sushi fanatic, but YUM! The staff is incredibly friendly and enthusiastic, the environment is extremely cosy and the food is to die for. Katsuya Kuwait is the first location for Katsuya in the Middle East. It is the 8th branch to open worldwide, and the first one to open outside of the United States. There was also an exhibition for Philippe Starck, a French product and interior designer who dressed and decorated all the Katsuya’s around the world.
I was taken on a tour by Hussein Hussein, the manager, and probably one of the nicest people I have ever met. He led me to the exhibition and introduced me to both the art and the designer. Starck designs all the chairs, tables, and interior for this franchise. His art is very simple and very symmetrical. Everything he designs is perfectly proportional and elegant. The artist uses simple geometric shapes to make very beautiful art.
Before you walk into the restaurant, there are two HUGE rocks with the word “victory” engraved into them in Japanese. These rocks have 2 holes in them at the top where there would normally be flames coming out of them, but since Katsuya Kuwait is indoors, this is near impossible.
All the art work found around Katsuya is very oriental with a touch of modern day design. Every table has one unique chair, whether its by color or by shape, there are Geisha fans, Samurai swords, and happy cats everywhere! There are beautiful vibrant Geisha dresses hung in various locations throughout the venue. The walls are decked out in warrior helmets of different colors, and if you look closely you will find so many unexpected little things everywhere! There are tractors and guns placed in the most random places. This gave off such a playful vibe to the overall feel of the restaurant.
Anytime someone walks in to the venue, the waiter showing them to their table chants ” Irasshaimase” and everyone repeats after them in a melodic tone. By the end of the night we all joined in! I have to admit, that might have been my favorite part of the visit. Irasshaimase means welcome in Japanese.
One of the chef’s made us tropical juices that we thoroughly enjoyed. All the contents of the juices were fresh and made right in front of us, even the syrups were made in house and had a life span of 3 days, then a new batch would be made. But trust me, they run out the same day, those drinks are absolute PERFECTION. I had the Katsuya Crush, which was made up of fresh-pressed mint and raspberry, topped with 7UP and a squeeze of lime, so simple but SO good! My hubby had the Burning Mandarin which is a spicy drink made up of hand crushed chili, fresh lemon and orange juice, with just a splash of cranberry. Sugar was placed all around the rim of the cup to break up the extreme spiciness, but he thoroughly enjoyed it. I would have probably died.
We probably ended up ordering the entire menu, some of which were recommended to us and others we ordered because we are complete fatties.
We started off with the Creamy Rock Shrimp which consisted of bite size shrimp tossed in creamy, spicy sauce. This tasted a lot like the famous Dynamite Shrimp from PF Changs but was a lot lighter. HIGHLY recommended.
The Salmon Sashimi with Ikura was made of salmon sashimi lightly rolled with Japanese onion chutney, topped with Ikura on a cucumber crisp. All the cucumbers are dried and cut fresh when the order is made. I loved that all the orders have larger portions that serve the purpose they were meant to. It’s mostly finger food that was made to be shared. YUM.
We also had the regular Salmon Sashimi, the hero of the night. The salmon was absolute perfection, that is all I can say.
The Mushroom Salad came and was almost too beautiful to eat. It was served with 4 different types of Japanese mushrooms over buttered lettuce. If you’re a mushroom lover, you’ll be in heaven.
The Mushroom Bop consisted of sizzling rice mixed with loads and loads of mushrooms and soy sauce.
Finally we ordered the Hollywood Rolls and the famous Katsuya Rolls. At this point I honestly couldn’t breathe but the food was too good to stop then. Hollywood rolls came with shrimp tempura, spicy kanikama, avocado and cucumber roll topped with spicy albacore. The Katsuya rolls had tuna, yellowtail, salmon, scallop, crab and avocado wrapped with rice, soy paper, and cucumber, served with wasabi ponzu on the side. There were so many different types of fish in those little rolls, but to my surprise it didn’t taste fishy at all.
Overall, it was an amazing experience and we will definitely be back again!