Kura Sushi is a new concept restaurant that opened recently in Doraville. I love sushi, and I love the concept, so I stopped in to have a taste.
Kura Sushi puts a new spin on dining
Kula Sushi is a revolving sushi bar that is all the rage in Japan. Guests sit at either a counter or a booth next to a two-tiered conveyor belt. The bottom belt has a continually rotating selection of sushi dishes you can pick up. Meanwhile, the upper belt delivers special orders directly to your table from the kitchen. It’s a great experience and a lot of fun to wait with some anticipation for various dishes to pass by, or to have your own special dish delivered to you remote control style.
Sushi at your pace
The Doraville location was full at lunchtime when we walked in. Still, we only waited a couple of minutes for a “first available” seat which happened to be at the counter.
The kitchen staff works behind a glass-walled partition, busily refilling plates on the conveyor belt and making specialty dishes to order. The front of the house staff is pretty light due to layers of automation in the restaurant.
Step by step to great sushi
There are several great steps that make the whole process quick and easy, streamlining the interaction between you and the staff.
- Step up to the touchpad when you enter and add your name, guest count, and preference for a counter or a booth seat. You are then given a number and an approximate wait time. After that, you can take a seat until your number is called.
- Once seated a server takes drink orders (The iced green tea is exceptional!). If it is your first visit, they explain the process of either pulling plates or placing orders.
- The menu is displayed on an iPad-style touchpad. It lists all the sushi choices rotating on the conveyor belt in front of you and specialty dishes made to order in the kitchen.
The rolls literally roll by
- As the individual plates pass by in their protective plastic pods, you pull a plate and begin eating. After you have finished there is a slot to drop the plates into. The slot automatically counts plates and keep track of how much sushi you have enjoyed.
- There is a bonus to racking up the plates, as well. For every five plates, a video comes up on the menu tablet. It tells the story of a little character fighting super villains. More plates increase his chances of winning. Once you reach 15 plates a dispenser over the conveyor belts releases a little red ball with a gimmicky toy surprise inside.
- If you do not want to wait for a particular dish to come by, or if you see something on the specialty menu that you’re dying to have, you simply tap the item’s picture on the screen. Within just a couple of minutes, the upper conveyor belt will send your dish zipping right to your table.
- Tap another button notifying your server that you are finished and ready for your check.
Absolutely fresh and fast
All the dishes that we had were incredibly fresh, brightly flavored, and fairly simple. No elaborate rolls with piles of ginger and scoops of wasabi. Soup, noodles and specialty dishes are available. You won’t fill up on any single small plate-sized dish. This gives you the chance to sample a broad variety of sushi.
What is Kura Sushi doing in Doraville?
Owned by the Japanese-based Kura Zushi Corporation, Kura Sushi is an international chain. They have grown in popularity across Japan and Taiwan. With outlets in California, Texas, and now Georgia, they have literally marched their concept from coast to coast.
They emphasize freshness, organic products, and sustainability in their practices and operations. Also, they first established the revolving sushi concept in Japan back in the mid-80s.
Atlanta’s international population and the popularity of sushi, make Doraville a great choice for a restaurant like this. Known as the “Koreatown” region of Atlanta, a great many Asian-owned businesses thrive and serve a vital community. Competition in Atlanta is tight, and property prices are high. So, Doraville is perfect for a budget-friendly place like Kura Sushi.
My spin on Kura Sushi
It feels like a throwback to the 50s when food and automation was all the rage. It’s a great deal of fun to sit there with friends and simply pluck a plate of delicious, glistening sushi from a passing belt without interrupting the conversation.
At an average $2.25 a plate, the impulse to experiment is easy as well as affordable. And nothing beats the excitement you feel when a small “ding” announces that your special plate is on its way and arrives in front of you like a bullet train on the conveyor belt.
Since I originally wrote this, Kula Sushi has changed its name to “Kura Sushi”. I have updated the name of the chain to its current brand.