Conveyor Belt Sushi

Restaurants come and go in Austin—and we have lots of fantastic choices here—so I don’t typically write about a specific place. However, I’m breaking my self-imposed rule to write about Kura, a sushi restaurant chain that recently opened on the corner of Lamar and Airport.

My family affectionally refers to this place as Conveyor Belt Sushi, and according to Wikipedia, that’s actually a type of Japanese restaurant. Your server leads you to a table (or counter seat), takes your drink order, and you are ready to (sushi-)roll. A conveyor belt loaded with covered plastic dishes slowly snakes around all of the tables. Many contain sushi rolls, but there’s also other items like edamame, nigiri, and sesame rolls. You just slide out your chosen plate (the lid automatically pops open) and start eating.

If your favorite sushi hasn’t wandered by, or if you want a hot dish, you can order directly from the kitchen using your table’s touchscreen menu. These items automagically arrive at your table on a separate—and much faster—conveyor belt that’s positioned above the slower one.

Getting a table delivery is exciting. My ramen arrives steaming hot in a bowl with a locked lid, thoughtfully followed by another little bowl carrying a soup spoon. We also enjoy watching deliveries heading to other tables. At the end of your meal, you just slide your flat plates into the slot below the conveyor belt (the plates are somehow counted in there) and request your check using the touchscreen. The server suddenly reappears with your check, you slide your credit card (no cash), and off you go. (Warning: there are two tempting Asian bakeries in this same strip mall, so your healthy lunch may not turn out as planned.)

The food at Kura is pretty good: not the best Japanese I’ve ever had, but not the worst either. Prices are reasonable. And the Conveyor Belt Sushi experience is definitely worth the visit.

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