I was in the mood for some Japanese fusion fine dining for lunch last week, while celebrating a special occasion. The very obvious choice, Nobu (reviewed here), was not open for lunch on a weekday. Browsing through Zomato, I came across Katsuya by Starck at the Jumeirah Al Naseem. Now I’ve heard great things about the food options at Jumeirah Al Naseem (including the burger joint Black Tap), but had not gotten a chance to try any yet. So the thought of going to this new place whose menu seemed to offer exactly what I was looking for was exciting.
Katsuya by Starck is set close to the hotel’s turtle rehabilitation lagoon (where you may just spot some big turtles!), with an outdoor terrace facing the beach and the Burj Al Arab. This is a great place to go for if you want to dine with a beautiful and strangely relaxing view. It’s starting to get warm, so we preferred to sit indoors by the windows.
To start off with, we ordered sautéed shishito peppers and crispy rock shrimp, as well as yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño from their signature starters. The shishito peppers were tender and oh-so-flavorful, with a delicate tinge of spice. Yellowtail with sashimi – I don’t think you can ever go wrong with that. The first thing you notice about Katsuya’s version was the presentation – the sashimi pieces were rolled up instead of sitting flat on the plate. This seemingly small but smart functional edit made them easier to pick up to eat. The yellowtail was tangy and appetizing, and as I always feel about it, not enough on the plate for FoodieFarah. The crispy rock shrimp was, yes I’m going to say it, very similar to P.F. Chang’s in terms of flavor, but you can tell that the shrimp and the batter used were of better quality, making the crunch on the outside transition more subtly into the soft juicy inner layer.
I didn’t realize that Katsuya’s crispy rice with tuna is listed as a can’t-miss starter – looks like I’m going to have to go back very soon :).
As we weren’t too hungry, we decided to share two maki rolls: double double & spicy tuna. The double double was made of spicy yellowtail and cucumber topped with yelowtail, serrano chili and onion ponzu. The spicy tuna was.. well, spicy tuna. I was struck by how fresh the ingredients were. They also had sriracha on request which, as I’ve mentioned in my other reviews, always translates into brownie points (yes, yes it’s not the classiest, but hey!). Although the staff were all friendly and the service overall was great, I did wish they would clean up and get rid of empty starter plates a little more efficiently.
I am so pleased to have discovered Katsuya by Starck. Even though Dubai is not really short of places that serve great food, it’s always exciting to stumble across a place with great food, service and great views, thanks to its intimate setting inside a beautiful resort.