Now, with a full-time job and year round responsibilities - summer seems to pass with the blink of an eye. We are blessed in Southern California that the Fall and Winter don't really get that bad...(another reason I will probably never leave) - the weather is pretty much great all the time (relatively to say, Toronto) with the exception of February and June. But those summer months, where the sun seems to shine even brighter, and the air seems to be denser with promise of carefree adventure - are still incredibly precious. It's the time of year where you want to be outdoors, as much as you can - for me, that does NOT mean roughing it on bare bones campgrounds, but more like grabbing good food, with great company, al fresco.
So I was excited when I was invited to check out Katana, a robatayaki/sushi hotspot featuring outdoor dining on its patio overlooking Sunset Blvd.
The place feels like a hidden gem, located on the second floor with a barely visible sign that's easy to miss while driving down Sunset - the biggest landmark being its neighbor, The Comedy Store. You pull into the narrow entrance of the garage and take a questionably vintage elevator ride - that opens up to a serene, chic space that feels like a different world from the stereotypical Hollywood vibe on the street below.
The interiors are modern Asian fusion, lush, dark, cavernous, ornate - with two large, open kitchens - one for robata service, the other for sushi - side by side. But we were there for the patio - a gorgeous space with dark, long rattan couches and a flowering fountain.
I usually don't love tuna tartare, but this one was super fresh and I loved the addition of briny caviar, and the counterbalancing crunch of wonton 'scoopers', with mayonnaise and sesame oil as well as soy sauce.
Then, because I have a penchant for the unusual, there were Quail Eggs ($3), Chicken Liver ($3) and Chicken Cartilage ($2.75). The quail eggs got a little too rubbery on the outside, and the chicken cartilage was as to be expected tough and chewy - not ones I might get again - but I enjoyed the rich, flavorful chicken liver skewers.
All in all, a fantastic time and great spot to 'choose your own adventure' especially during summer - whether it's after work drink and small bites, or for a splurgey client meal over an iconic stretch of Hollywood literally and figuratively elevated above the fray.
Note: On the weeknight that we went, it had a very relaxed, serene vibe until closer to 10pm when the patio got more crowded, and noticeably louder. We heard on Saturdays the patio gets more packed, with more of the Hollywood crowd, so plan your visit according to whatever you're more into.
*Disclaimer: This meal was hosted.
8439 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Parking: Valet in structure below restaurant (entry on Sunset)