Local restaurant is a dining delight with a digital twist
The Santa Clara
May 2, 2019
Sushi boats beware.
Not content to just steal our jobs, automation seems poised to replace another critical population: the cute, seafoodladen gondolas filling the waterways of sushi establishments around the world.
And with its speedy and precise conveyor belts, Kura Revolving Sushi Bar is leading this revolution.
As pioneers in sushi technology since their first restaurant’s opening in 1977, the Kura family of companies relies on its unique “revolving sushi” concept to send perfectly portioned dishes to happy customers through an intricate and interconnected system of conveyor belts.
Nestled between the notoriously abandoned Vallco Mall and, of all places, Apple’s “Spaceship” Headquarters, Kura embraces the high-tech position of its Cupertino location. The restaurant’s conveyor belts zip and zag through peninsulas of tables, allowing anyone within arm’s reach of the system to grab whatever looks good.
Each conveyor belt boasts a top and bottom section. The bottom belt showcases Kura’s talents with a variety of pre-prepared dishes sitting in patented “Mr. Fresh” ventilated sushi lids—clear domes that keep the revolving food fresh and pop open when you grab a plate.
In this section, customers see the chefs’ choices, exposing even the most reluctant sushi eaters to the potentials of the form. Here, more mundane foods like tuna and salmon crowd the octopus, eel, squid, conch and sea urchin delicacies.
If the shiny, slithery texture of the drifting eel dish isn’t your style, a healthy selection of more traditional dishes (offered in both seaweed and soy paper rolls) also passes through the bottom belt system, along with morehumorous entries like New York cheesecake and a watermelon bowl that consists of a handful of lessthan-one-inch-thick watermelon cubes.
But the bottom belt isn’t the full menu and you never know if the table ahead of you in the belt’s path will snatch those delectablelooking Hokkaido scallops before you even get a chance to examine them. Fortunately, Kura also equips each of its tables with a touchscreen monitor, empowering any customer to peruse the full menu at their own leisure before placing an order.
These touchpad orders activate the upper conveyor belt, which chefs use to send your freshly ordered—and even more recently prepared—plates straight to your table.
The process of loading the food onto the top belt, inputting the target table and moving the belt into place takes less than five seconds. You can taste the immediacy of the preparation, as well as see it through the giant opening in the back wall that affords eaters a direct view of the commotions of kitchen life.
Although the California rolls might make you think some prep drone mistook the refrigerator for a cement mixer, Kura’s food always tastes fresh and made-toorder. In addition to the nicely sized avocado, spider and other hand rolls, Kura also serves up larger dishes like a steaming miso soup that appears in an adorable, conveyor-belt-ready container complete with a serving spoon.
To top off a trip to Kura, indulge in one of the several dessert options—such as the Japanese style soy milk donuts, which serves three puffs of flaky pastry and one dollop of syrup-covered vanilla ice cream.
Even with an added dessert, you won’t feel overstuffed leaving Kura—the portions make it impossible.
Of course, all the speed and excitement of the Kura Sushi experience comes at a cost.
On a weekend or other busy day, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a table ready on walk-in.
With wait times often in the 1-2 hour range, you can choose to sign in at the physical location, or download the conveniently titled Kura Sushi app to secure a spot.
As the sushi boats will soon learn, innovation comes at a price, and for the fresh, high-tech experience of Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, that prices come in the form of a little pre-planning and 15.8 megabytes of storage on our phones.
Contact Brandon Schultz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.