Nestled within the recently opened Jumeirah Al Naseem Hotel lies US-based, Chef-owner Katsuya Uechi’s restaurant. It is a Japanese cuisine concept with a Californian twist keeping with the chef’s signature style.
We were a party of 3 and had a reservation at 9 pm, which we were late for. This was due to serious traffic leading into the hotel because of its plethora of high-end restaurants that have recently opened their doors at the hotel, competing for Dubai’s ever-growing upscale dining chasers.
Upon arriving, the restaurant was understanding of our lateness and made us wait for 10 mins before they sat us down in the main dining area.
The ambiance was a bit loud with a mix of adults and children which was a bit unexpected, but not too bad that it would put us off.
The restaurant’s design was modern but simple with a few murals scattered around the venue designed by French designer Phillipe Starck.
At first glance of the menu, we got lost in the extremely varied number of choices under each category. We were told that everything would be served “family style” which made it harder as we had to get opinions from around the table and needed guidance from our waiter with regards to portion sizes.
Having that large of a menu was a bit frustrating. We wanted to try everything but there was no way of getting the right formula of what to order; given that each part of the menu featured over 7-8 options. That’s when the fear of over ordering settled in.
Moving past that, we were able to somehow get a fair variety on the order making sure that we try most of the specials highlighted by the chef.
The Cucumber Sunomono and the Seaweed Sunomono (AED 39) were refreshing to start with. The Crispy Soft-shell Crab (AED 79) which really jumped off the plate with tartar and ponzu flavors giving the dish great profundity.
We weren’t too fond of the Crispy Chicken Salad (AED 79) which was borderline average, barely favorable and unoriginal.
Our favorite of the starters and salads was the Katsuya Ceviche (AED 85), a light and refreshing blend of Sashimi and citrus ponzu served with fried crisps on the side.
Moving onto Sushi, we opted for both specialty rolls, the Double Double (AED 95) and the Salmon Lemon Roll (AED 69).
The winner here was definitely the Double Double, featuring a spicy yellowtail, cucumber, serrano chili, and onion ponzu.
For the mains, we thought we’d try two types of meats and since we aren’t big fans of chicken, we went for the Braised Short Ribs (AED 129) and ever so popular Japanese favorite Miso-marinated Black Cod (AED 199).
The braised short rib was juicy from end to end. It came topped with carrot spaghetti and surrounded by wasabi mashed potatoes. The taste was impeccable with great finishing. The carrots really added great depth to the dish making it very hard not to fall in love with it.
On the other hand, the Black Cod was good but not great. If compared with the likes of Nobu, Zuma, Okku and Hakkasan(not miso marinated), it definitely does not come close to the texture, taste and the promise as “a must try” on the menu.
To finish off with dessert, we tried out the Double Chocolate Lava Cake along with the Strawberry and Mango Mochi. We were already stuffed and assumed we’d just have a bite each but couldn’t resist the rich flavor of the lava cake and the palette cleansing power of the rice wrapped ice cream. It was definitely a great ending to a lovely meal leaving us with the perfect last impression.
The restaurant serves a large variety of Sake, Japanese beers, and Whiskeys which add to the ora of the place.