Sugar Land, Texas
When Heidi visited Sugar Land in February, we gave it a try, arriving on a busy Sunday night.
Eating at the Counter?
There were table options as well as counter seating. It was tempting to sit facing the parade of food, like these folks. But I wasn't sure we would get the full experience.
Food and Toys
Yay! We got a corner table. I sat with the food prep behind me and the conveyor belt beside me. I could also see some little eyes, peering at the moving food.
You Like, You Grab
Heidi let Don and me sit by the exciting revolving belt that wound around the restaurant. Don skillfully grabbed a plate of Soy Sake Marinated Salmon Nigiri. The lid popped up properly and he neatly placed the little $2.25-dish right on our table.
Not everything was available on the moving belt. Sake, Udon, Ramen, Tempura and desserts could all be ordered from a food screen. A waiter initially greeted our table for any special requests.
Quick and Fresh
After our 25 minute wait, it was nice not having to wait for food. We saw what we liked and grabbed.
It was also nice to learn that Kura serves all organic foods, free of additives and MSG. I also was pleased to find out that there's a system for automatically disposing of the uneaten food plates, that for some reason don't get picked. So no worries about picking a food that's been lingering.
Eating with Pros
I was the only one at our table who has not eaten sushi in Japan. Don used to travel on business. Heidi and her husband Jamie, were engaged in Japan. Also, Don and Heidi share an odd college experience, 30+ years apart. Both spent a period of time at University of Michigan, eating dorm food only with chopsticks. I love dining with pros.
It's hard to pass up some bright salmon and fresh tuna, when it rolls on by. We ended up eating lots of basic nigiri, but the rolls were tasty as well. The green plates were all $2.25, which seemed like such a bargain, but it's also easy to get carried away with the fun. That's kind of how I remember cafeterias as a kid. It's so easy to grab a lot!
A Giddy Diner
I obviously loved the little box that held my food. I was pretty excited about the whole concept of this place. I also seemed to be the only one looking around and snapping pics, like a tourist.
In fact I felt like I was a tourist on a trip. We live in Fort Bend County, which is ranked the most diverse U.S. county, in many studies. When I looked around, I could easily imagine that I was actually eating a meal in Japan. None of the other diners seemed to make a fuss over the exciting vibe. No one else seemed to be "learning the ropes".
I turned around in my booth to peek at the "sushi makers" now and then. They seemed pretty laid back in the festive atmosphere. I should have paid closer attention to observe the system for adding and removing plates from the belt. For a moment, I amused myself with a thought of the iconic I Love Lucy episode. Except I pictured Lucy, stuffing her mouth full of salmon and shrimp, instead of chocolate!
This was my first dining experience that involved a little game-like fun, at the table.
Above our table and the belt, we had our own colorful screen. There was a little animation first and then some words, encouraging us to "defeat him" by inserting more plates. Below the moving belt was the slot, where we inserted our empty green plates. Our plates became tokens to keep the story moving on the screen.
Above the animation screen, was a clear box that held the round prize holders. I was glad we had 3 people since it took 15 plates to earn a prize.
I felt like I was in Vegas when we inserted the 15th plate and the Bikurra-Pon released a red & green ball! Down the slide it came, landing in the plastic tray! Oh boy, a little stamper. It was pretty lame for over 35 dollars worth of sushi. But I didn't care. I was the kid that bought Cracker Jacks, just for the prize.
Share the Prize
It's close enough and that would add to the playful dining theme. I could also leave the prize behind, like one person did. I pity the families with kids, begging the parents to purchase 15 more plates for another prize! Yikes.
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.