If you’ve ever been to Japan, you might have noticed that the automation and technology employed in food service are far ahead of anything we’ve experienced here in Texas. 

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar is one of the pioneers of this in the United States, with its rotating conveyor belts and bubbles that pop open when you lift the plate as the belt remains in motion, almost like something out of The Jetsons. 

You don’t need to rely upon a server much at all, except for drinks and if you have a question about an entree. Your entire experience is like a choose-your-own adventure novel brought to life. You can select whatever dishes that come across the belt and use a touchscreen to order ramen or other side dishes or even desserts, which come speeding out directly to your table on a second-level belt next to a booth.

A good rule of thumb if you’re trying to grasp the pricing system: If it comes on a green plate,  like the majority of the sushi rolls, it will be $2.90. Anything on a red plate or served in a larger dish will cost somewhere in the ballpark of a few dollars more. 

At the end, you stack your plates and dispense them into a chute that transports them back into the kitchen to be cleaned. But that’s not all — you have the opportunity to play a game called Gashapon by feeding your plates down this metal chute, and if you send down enough plates, you can win a toy contained in a capsule similar to what you used to seek after putting a quarter in a gumball machine as a kid. Right now, if you’re a Tetris fan, you can win a Tetris microfiber cloth, a keychain depicting Tetris blocks shaped like a sushi roll, or magnets. 

The spontaneity of Kura is great for people who like to try new things, and you don’t have to limit yourself to fish on your sushi either. One of my favorites of the seven sushi rolls I tried was the umami oil seared beef. This thin strip of beef had a tough skin but was juicy and tender. 

There are also what Kura calls “monthly discoveries,” limited items like bluefin toro, which is prized by sushi chefs because it is the belly of the tuna fish. Its softness makes for a buttery, rich taste. 

For something a bit more conventional, the California crab mayonnaise and avocado roll is topped with sesame seeds and goes well with a little dab of wasabi for an added kick. 

The most unique thing I’ve tried yet at Kura (I have been to other locations in Houston and Austin) both visually and in a culinary sense is the salmon yukhoe. There is a lot going on here, but as with any abstract art, you need to spend some time with it to truly appreciate it. It features boiled egg yolks, ginger, green onion and sesame seeds and is drizzled with a sweet Japanese barbecue sauce. Yukhoe is more commonly made as a raw meat dish, or tartare, in Japan, but the sushi adaptation brings out both a sweet and saltiness in the accompanying salmon that might not have otherwise been obvious. 

If you’ve still got room for dessert, I’d recommend the Japanese style soy milk doughnuts — warm pillows dusted with sugar and placed atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream splashed with caramel. 

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

Address: 13513 University Blvd. Ste. B500, Sugar Land

Dining Options: Dine-in, takeout, delivery 

Hours: 11:30 am.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday 11:30 am.-9:30 p.m.  Friday-Sunday

Entree prices: $2.90-$7.85 

Kid-friendly: Yes

Senior discount: No

Alcohol: Yes

Healthy options: Harajuku summer salad ($3.50)

Star of the show: Salmon yukhoe

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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