Katana's formula for success — mixing partying, dining and fine sake — rests on its winning menu of Japanese robatayaki-style dishes married with a heavy dose of sushi, a primo bar program, knowledgeable servers and a patio overlooking the Sunset Strip. Anchoring the perennial social hot spot is Katana's carefully culled menu, which changes twice a year, of more than 50 premium sakes. Begin with the chilled superior three-sake sampler. Follow sake sommelier Eiji Mori's advice and taste the delicate Ken Daiginjo first (elegant on its own or with sashimi). Another winner: Miyasaka Brewery's well-balanced Yawaraka Junmai. The house sake — the stone fruit–tinged Katana Aizu, brewed at Fukushima, Japan's Suehiro Brewery (founded in 1850) — pairs perfectly with Katana's grilled skewers, from the bacon-wrapped shrimp to the minced chicken–stuffed shiitake mushrooms. Organized by sake style, from light as rice to crisp Daiginjos to oddities such as the Star Rabbit (a cloying, sweet, crowd-pleasing, blueberry-infused sparkling sake), Katana's sake list demonstrates the breadth and complexity of Japan's national brew. Several California-made sakes are on the list, too. 8439 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd. (323) 650-8585, katanala.com.
—Kathy A. McDonald