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Jonathan Yao's Tasting Menu at Kato Is an Impressive Bargain


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If Kato were a superhero, its power would be invisibility. Shoehorned between two Mexican restaurants in a two-story mini mall, Kato's blank storefront is no more than 10 feet wide. A scrawl of pale pink cursive on the glass front door is the sole signifier you've arrived.

Once inside, you'll find that the most surprising thing about Kato is that it pulls off something very few restaurants are able to make viable — the chef's choice tasting menu. Part of the appeal of chef-owner Jonathan Yao's bare-bones eatery has to do with what economists refer to as a “low barrier to entry.” A five-course dinner here will cost you $49 before tax and tip (actually, it's more like eight courses, once you include two snacks and a dessert).
Yao, a native of the San Gabriel Valley suburb of Walnut, exhibits an almost preternatural knack for weaving together subtle Taiwanese and Japanese flavors in ways that are at once elegant and unpretentious. Read the review here.