Master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi's first restaurant made a splash in Studio City, California, in 1997. Nine years later, when he teamed up with Parisian design powerhouse Philippe Starck, it was a match made in heaven -- or at least in Brentwood, the tony L.A. hood where they opened up shop.
California is now home to six Katsuya by Starck enterprises, all operating under the umbrella of the L.A.-based SBE Restaurant Group. (Among its numerous properties are the Bazaar by José Andrés and the recently purchased Raleigh Hotel on Collins Avenue.) The first two Katsuya spots beyond the Golden State opened this year: one in Houston and the other at the SLS Hotel South Beach.
To get to SoBe's Katsuya by Starck, which debuted in June, you must first cross the SLS lobby, proceed past a couple of bars, breeze by the Bazaar, and head outdoors onto the Bazaar's patio. The restaurant is on the left.
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As soon as you enter, sushi chefs and service workers shout, "Irrashaimase!" ("Welcome to our home!"). We unfortunately were seated at the beginning of dinner rush; after six or seven such squawks, the greeting grew grating.