Newly awarded 1* by Michelin, Kato is an unassuming, nearly completely unadorned restaurant in an anonymous strip mall.
The food ranges from the good to the amazing, starting off with a mind-blowing tapioca fritter topped with glazed uni. Kyushu oyster and amberjack sashimi, the next two dishes, were more delicate dishes, and were about one bite each. Tasty but just one bite each. The spot prawn was also yummy, but too many greens ruined the of the dish.
Silken tofu with steamed crab was an even more delicate dish than the previous three; not sure if this was a miss or if it was a master of execution? Similar theme for the ocean trout with roe and trout chip; not as delicate, but it didn't quite seem to have the flavor profile/intensity needed. It may have been brilliant or it may be a bit of a miss, might need a second visit to confirm.
Steamed turbo topped with karabi was a very traditional Chinese take on steamed fish, although they added in snobbery to the marinade by calling it "bone broth" soy sauce. While it was a superb execution, it's hard to say this dish is enough to earn 1*.
The next dish was an amazing abalone and rice. Not sure why good abalone is so hard to find, but calling Kato's abalone amazing is only a mild exaggeration.
Shifting to dessert, the yogurt with grape sorrel was as mind-blowing as the uni fritter. They could have skipped the rest of the dessert courses and nothing would have been missed, although the Japanese sweet potato and cheese, which emulated boba and cheese foam, was such a good emulation of tapioca pearls that it could have been (not sure this is good, bad, or just a dumb idea?). The final item, a jasmine ice cream sandwich, was very high quality but pretty forgettable in such company.
Not quite sure this two-hour experience was worth the price or the 1* rating, but it did have enough strong (and amazing) components to justify some high praise.