Sunday, May 30, 2010


I wanted to like Katana - I really did. While we all know hibachi restaurants are not 'real' Japanese cuisine - they are normally pretty tasty with the consistently tacky / repetitive jokes while cooking. Onion volcanos anyone? Regardless - skip Katana - try Osaka in downtown Scranton, PA instead...

Functionality - great - right in downtown Wilkes Barre, parking deck across the street... easy in / easy out.

Comfort - although the restaurant was empty when we were there (and had an awkward hibachi show for two)... so hard to comment on the crowd... but seemed like a pretty casual place.

Service - fine, not overwhelming.. seemed like a half-hearted attempt to fit the hibachi concept - instead of a waitress in a kimono... had a very pleasant lady who probably was more comfortable working a nice diner or a Bob Evans. Restaurant management was more or less clueless... lots of people standing around... the welcome sign for the day touted the mojitos... which the waitress then informed me they could not make because they did not have any mint. Really? Last I checked - it's summer, and mint is more or less a weed. So if you cannot be bothered to go pluck some out of the ground - then get your signage updated. Upon further inspection, I realized the waitress was one of the owners... so now I am really bothered by the whole mojito / no mojito thing...

Beyond that - the service was totally rushed - seemed the objective of the restaurant was to keep the place empty. Salads came right away, followed by sushi a few minutes later... then the soups... we're still trying to keep up, and the hibachi chef starts... and of course he becomes frustrated when we don't touch the entrees.

Connected - fine. Wi-Fi options available (although not one for the restaurant itself).. and a decent web site to get you warmed up on the place.

View / Decor - dark and gloomy, and not a in modern kind of way. Some cross between a 1980's comfort food joint and a hibachi place that had not been re-fitted in 20 years. Clean and spacious... but absolutely no memorable. Good location near the square - but little to view to the outside of the restaurant.

Food - the is where the wheels fell off. Sushi - fine - had a vegetable role and a tempura shrimp roll - both reasonably fresh and tasty, although certainly not distinctive. The entrees / hibachi meals pretty much sucked. between us had chicken, scallops, shrimp, 'filet mignon'. Most was overcooked - not sure how this happened given the rush... and the 'filet mignon' tasted much more like a chuck steak at best.

Value - Portion sizes are generous so if that matters to you... not sure $20 for a crappy entree is worth it though.

Would I go back - nope. Osaka in downtown Scranton is fine. Katana is not worth the drive to Wilkes Barre. Even if you are already in the area. Skip it - there are better choices out there.

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