This is what I get for not posting a meal until 3 months later: restaurant closure due to insufficient biz. Not that I’m implying my wee bit blog spot could’ve saved a venerable itamae, but…
Over the weekend, thru the sushi grapevine, I heard Katsu, of Katsu Studio City fame, circa 1980s of Tama Studio City fame, of Katsu Beverly Hills, closed his “shop” as of last Monday, the 13th. This is upsetting news. I’ve been to Tama restaurant a number of times, sometimes for lunch, sometimes for dinner. It was always before or after visiting a past friend. Since discontinuing correspondence with that fellah, I’ve stopped doing the super affordable omakases at Tama. Then Tama shuttered after Chef Michite opened a new restaurant in Beverly Hills last year and I told myself we could visit more frequently. Except I rarely made it. Beverly Drive might as well be Ventura Blvd.
Mr. Michite came to the United States in 1969. He’s been slicing and chefing for well over 35 years since that time. 2009 marks the only time since opening the original Katsu he has had to close his restaurant doors due to anything but a disaster. Katsu-san is one of the few officiated chefs belonging to Tokyo Sushi Kenkyu Sanchokai, a “prestigious group headquartered in Tsukiji” and beyond Shibucho’s Shige-san, he is one of the few chefs in LA in front of whom I always felt at ease and tranquil. Now, after not even 1 year in the new dig, he is without a restaurant as the old Tama was sold to the OTHER (evil?) Katsu(ya Uechi) , his former competition just down the street back in October of ’08.
Here is a great article telling his story, circa 2002: Sushi & Tofu.
Here’s a post (including my quick reply) on Chowhound on “Why Tama sushi.. is the best” from 2006.
Here’s a quick rundown of a meal we had back a few months back in April, 2009, for a birthday celebration.
Something has to be said about the Shigoku oyster. According to the Oyster Guide, it’s a new variety recently introduced to the market. Simply put, these critters were unlike anything I’ve previously tasted. Grown in Washington, they were so clean, so compact, yet not overtly chewy, fitting perfectly within the nori, packed with subtle briny flavor. Just a superior thing over the Kumamotos we’ve recently all grown so accustomed.
It was all lovely. Chef Michite belongs to the Edo style. Rice a bit vinegary, not too impacted, not too cold, nearly room temp, fish cuts not obscenely large, just showing calculated artistic irregularity.
As of Monday the 20th, a call to the restaurant gets a number re-direction to what is presumably Katsu-san’s personal line. See, I fact check. Sorta.
A sad day for the LA sushi scene.
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