|Hokkigai, or surf clam sushi|
Here, in a celebration of the Japanese culture's embrace of technology, customers choose small plates of sushi rolling past on a conveyer belt. Like an automated dim-sum cart, the final bill is tallied up by counting the number of empty plates at the end of the meal.
The belt snakes its way through the entire dining room, then back into the kitchen, where it is replenished.
|The kitchen is just around the bend, so my sushi is fresh!|
For my first selection, I sort of lunged at a plate bearing two masago gunkan-maki, fearing it would escape my clutches.
|Masago gunkan-maki and albacore nigiri-zushi|
It's not just sushi that rolls past like boxcars on a train track. There are dishes of edamame, dessert items like mochi, and crusty fried chicken. I took a little dish of sunemono, or cucumber salad that I'm fond of, relying on the label. I didn't realize it also included slivers of tamago, or egg omelet, and octopus, but it was impossible to put it back. Still, it wasn't bad, and the portion was generous.
|Sunemono with octopus and tamago (egg omelet)|
Kula Revolving Sushi is a popular place. When I went, the four and two-top tables were full, and even the bar was full with singles and couples. This made me feel confident about the freshness of the offerings, which were snapped up quickly instead of making multiple orbits. This could be a concern if the restaurant were slow, especially with items using mayonnaise, or avocado, which browns with age.
Still, I think it's a better deal than the all-you-can-eat joints where items sit out in trays for ages. Everything I saw on the day I went looked fresh, and the chefs were bustling in the back to load the belt up with new things.
Even though the menu offers popular items like Philadelphia and California rolls, it also has things that many Western customers are less familiar with, like Spanish mackerel, surf clam, and nattō, which is a strong-smelling fermented soybean. It smells like stinky feet and is served as gunkan-maki.
Kula offers all items for $2 per plate, which is a pretty good deal. If you want to try out different kinds of sushi, but you don't want to embarrass yourself at the sushi bar, it's a safe way to experiment.
It's a good way to introduce kids to sushi - they will have fun watching the little dishes roll past. And the gadget-lovers in your family will love it!