My girlfriend’s little brother was visiting from out of town. He obsesses about celebrities the way straight kids do about football. He wanted to go someplace hip and fancy for dinner, so we brought him to Katsuya by Starck. This is hands-down the most pretentious restaurant in Los Angeles. Noted designer Philippe Starck did the décor, which consists of white, ugly furniture including lightbox tables, square plates, and giant backlit pictures of a woman’s dragon tattoo and an enormous pair of lips. There are two bead-curtained rooms towards the back of the main dining room so that the truly obnoxious can pretend to have their privacy while everyone peers through the beads trying to figure out who’s in there. The night we visited, the two rooms consisted of, respectively, a rapper and his entourage of trashy hos of all races and some non-descript actory types, including several in porkpie hats (apparently the 1940s made a return without telling anyone). The rest of the customer base is made up of every type of douchebag you might find in Los Angeles – unemployed actors, golddigging tramps, a super-fey man in $2,000 Italian loafers and a grey flannel suit texting away and ignoring the trio of black-clad Armenian women with him, and someone I thought was Tila Tequila. It turns out that wasn’t Tila Tequila, which explains why she charged me $20 for a blowjob. And had an Adam’s Apple. The food at Katsuya is quite good, if on the pricy side. Little brother-in-lawish’s $35 lamb chops were adorably petite and delicious, the girlfriend’s miso-glazed salmon was succulent, and my “deconstructed bento box” (“deconstructed” being haute cuisine lingo for “I’m going to ruin anything nice about the item in question – which works perfectly fine – by taking it completely apart and reassembling it in a slightly less satisfying and more expensive version.”) was composed of several tiny but tasty dishes.
The main problem came in that we weren’t rich or famous enough to get a decent level of service. Apparently dropping over a hundred bucks on dinner doesn’t entitle you to receive all your entrees at the same time or have the waitress check if you need anything else. Trendy eateries need to take note – you may be hip today, but if you treat the regular folks (who are the ones supporting you) like crap, they won’t be there to help you meet payroll once the Japanese hipsters and Russian gangsters move on to that Ethiopian fusion joint with the blind obese waiters. I hear Tila Tequila eats there.
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