Friday, August 3, 2012

Red Sun BBQ Comes to the Sunset Strip

Overlooking the hubbub of the Sunset Strip, yet just above the mayhem, is Katana, the Japanese robata and sushi bar.  I was recently invited to visit their Red Sun BBQ, the weekly bbq party held on their patio each Sunday during the summer.  The patio is inviting and has a large seating area with tables as well as a lounge area with lower seating and coffee tables.  Lights are projected onto the building, which faces the famous Mondrian Hotel.

Highlights of the Red Sun BBQ menu include Yuzu Edamame ($5) which are pleasantly spicy with more of a kick than one would expect, which comes from the yuzukosho spice mix made from chili peppers, yuzu rind and salt.

My favorite portion of the menu was the fish selections, which in addition to Oysters on the Half Shell from the raw bar, also features Albacore Cannoli, Yellowtail Fresca, and a Koji Roll.  The Cannoli was a fun take on the classic Italian dessert, with a crunchy cannoli tube shell, filled with albacore sashimi, Maui onions, cucumber and a yuzu guacamole.  The crunch of the tube provided a great textural contrast to the contents.  Yellowtail fresca is a Latin take on sashimi as it is served with fresh lime juice and cilantro.

A visit to the Red Sun BBQ at Katana is not complete without the Salmon Tartare on Crispy Rice.  This signature dish of the restaurant is not specifically on the Red Sun menu but is available to those who ask and is not to be missed.  Katana does spicy right, whether in the Edamame, the Salmon Tartare or the Mustard (below), the chefs do not  shy away from heat and I commend that.  Spicy tuna or spicy salmon is often good but rarely truly spicy.  This version is and also benefits from the crunchiness of the crispy rice.

The menu also includes several selections from the robata bar, such as Kuributa Sausage Skewers with Karashi Mustard, Kurobuta Ribs and 40 Day Dry Aged New York Steak.  The Karashi Mustard served with the sausage skewer was a hit at my table due to its potent blend of ground mustard seeds and horseradish.  This sauce was powerful, and is not to be taken lightly.  The dry aged steak is cooked over bincho charcoals with a soy garlic sauce.

Kurobuta Ribs
Four signature cocktails are available.  They are by and large too sweet for my taste, although I found the Inochi Mizu, made with vodka, cucumber and lychee to be refreshing.  That is the best of the cocktails, though some of this izakaya style food lends itself better to beer, which is also available.

Inochi Mizu
The seafood such as the oysters and the albacore were highlights:

Red Sun BBQ at Katana
Sunday evenings through Labor Day: 8439 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood | 310.650.8585 |

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