Hidden at the back of the strip-mall, Kato is possibly the most humble of all Michelin 1 star restaurants in the LA. The interior, though looking neat and clean, is sparsely decorated. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the space reminds me more of an Asian boba place than a restaurant serving plate after plate of painstaking crafted edible art. Let’s just say that it’s not on anybody’s list of romantic go-to restaurant when it comes to impressing your date. Luckily, my partner-in-crime on this day is the almighty @PorkyBelly and we certainly don’t give a shit about where the restaurant is or how romantic it may be or lack thereof. All we need is great food…
mb: It’s clear that Kato’s cooking has evolved over the past years. Even though their food is a bit less creative and complex than Auburn, I actually enjoy the food here more. I especially appreciate that Kato’s flavors are very light and pure. Overall, at this precise level of cooking and execution, $95 for this delicious 9 course tasting is a steal.
pb: Overall an excellent meal and really deserving of a star, the only problem is i need to order TOE (two of everything) lest i leave hungry and order an after-dinner cheeseburger. @jeetkunebao you should be all over this shit.
- 80% of the guests at the restaurants are older Asians which is unheard of since Kato doesn’t scream value in the traditional older Asian sense…so Kato must be doing something right.
- We were able to super-size our miniature menu with a $10 upcharge.
- BYOB welcomed
Service: The Kato team is warm, smooth, and attentive. Timing of each course is excellent.
mb: oyster, kanpachi, spot prawn, rice, yogurt
pb: uni, oyster, spot prawn, trout, rice, yogurt
kusshi oyster, meyer lemon ponzu, fermented chili paste, nasturtium leave, daikon
mb: excellent start. plumb and briny oyster is topped with a thin slice of daikon which offers a slightly crunchy contrast against the creamy flesh. the nasturtium leave and that little dot of fermented sriracha-like chili paste offers just enough peppery notes, spiciness, and acidity to amp up the flavor.
pb: One of the best “elevated” oysters I’ve had in awhile.
fried tapioca fritter, brown butter soy, uni
mb: it’s an good bite with the tapioca fritter possessing a hashbrown-like texture with neutral flavor to go with the sweet uni. however, the uni to fritter ratio’s a little off so i ran out of uni to flavor the fritter.
pb: great start, but the uni to fritter ratio was a bit too low. Need more uni or less fritter, I’d prefer the former.
mb: a savory tomato water and crunchy julienned cucumbers pair perfectly with the rich tasting fish while the basil oil and variety of herbs brightened up dish considerably
pb: Light, bright, and clean, with a bit of heat.
flavors of taiwanese stir fry - raw spot prawns, raw snap peas, roasted shell vinaigrette
mb: definitely the highlight of the evening which is inspired by the classic shrimp and snow pea stir fry. grassy and crunchy snap peas contrast very well with the snappy and creamy raw prawns. to tie em together, an incredibly umami-ladened roasted shell vinaigrette, which has notes of chinese shrimp paste, coated each delicious morsel in the bowl.
pb: Excellent, loved the vinaigrette. I could eat the shit out of this with some rice.
chilled silken tofu, “fish fragrant”/yu xiang sauce, shiso, smoked trout roe
mb: delicately creamy silken tofu is slightly overpowered by the sweet, salty, and spicy notes between the trout roes and “fish fragrant” sauce.
pb: Like a tofu chawanmushi, not bad but the weakest dish of the night.
slightly poached in olive oil ocean trout, crispy skin, eggplant, black vinegar, fermented chilis
mb: it’s inspired by fish geng, a sort of thick, slimy, fish soup. the soup is now replaced with a sticky savory sauce and sous vided trout has a texture consistency somewhere between raw and poached. The crispy skin is always a nice touch.
pb: The fish was cooked to a perfect state of being soft but without flaking. And had an incredible texture of warm butter or ankimo, you could eat this with a dull spoon.
steam turbot, relish of scallion and ginger, chinese broccoli, kohlrabi, soy and fish bone broth
mb: a slightly re-interpreted classic chinese steam fish dish. the “elevation” comes from the complexity of the sauce with a fish bone broth blended with 4 different soy sauce and rice wine.
pb: Very familiar flavors of a chinese steamed whole fish.
grilled octopus, shacha (taiwanese bbq sauce), herb salad, shacha fried rice with dried scallop
mb: excellent char but a bit chewy. it’s a shame since it’s the only execution flaw of the night.
pb: Octopus was a little chewy.
mb: it’s superb with the XO like flavored rice being fluffy, toothsome, and not too sticky. in fact, i prefer this over hayato’s rice!
pb: Rice was one of the highlights of the night. Wish i asked for seconds, thirds, and fourths.
frozen yogurt, chewy grapes, sorrel and grape ice
mb: the dish is greater than the sum of its parts. it’s super refreshing with great balance between sweetness from the grapes and acidity from the yogurt and sorrel.
pb: Great refreshing palate cleanser.
sweet potato boba, cheese foam, frozen & shaved brown butter sable cookie
mb: it’s the latest trend of cheesy boba in a bowl! tapioca balls are now replaced with chewy sweet potato balls that has perfect Q and topped with a mild tasting cheese foam.
pb: Loved the ping pong ball sized boba.
11925 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Post Kato bang at The Apple Pan
mb: i can’t believe i spent $20 on a shitty burger and a slice of shit pie.
pb: Burger and pie were insipid, should have gotten the fohb or went to ino.
mb: flavorless patty. all i tasted was bbq sauce
banana cream pie
mb: did i order a pie or did i only order bananas?
mb: flavorless canned peach
The Apple Pan
10801 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064