4609 Convoy St. – yelp reviews
The name does NOT, in fact, say it all. We’ve tried out a number of alternate names that seem more appropriate: the Sushi-Matic, the SuXi in the Machine, or my favorite, the Sushi-Tron 5000. It’s more than a chain restaurant, combining as it does the essential functions of a vending machine, an 80s video arcade, and the Tokyo airport’s conveyor belt system. AND – here’s the real shocker – the sushi’s pretty darn good.
Kula Revolving Sushi is a medium-sized sushi chain – new to Convoy in the last six months as of this writing. Medium-sized is too small apparently – I’ve never seen the place without a hungry crowd loitering out front.
The concept is fun automation.
The food comes steadily along by your booth on a conveyor belt (each plate on the belt is $2.25), but there’s also a touch screen from which you can order special items delivered on another second-level personal conveyor belt. This personal conveyor belt moves dangerously hilariously fast. The touch screen occasionally comes alive to play some kind of franchised anime about ninjas destroying plates of sushi or something. As you finish your plates, you put them in a little hopper: every fifteenth plate earns your booth a Hello Kitty prize, suitable for keychaining, which comes rolling dramatically down from above like the ball in Times Square. If you are eating with an eleven-year-old (we were), you WILL NOT stop eating except at a multiple of fifteen.
What comes along the belts? Most of the standard sushi items are there – tuna, sweet eel, tempura softshell crab, tamago omelette. We were especially pleased by the variety of fresh salmon to be had: in tangy ponzu sauce (good), crispy fried skin (excellent), seared with mayonnaise (excellent!), with umami oil (excellent!!). I loved a little bowl of Japanese pickles and corn. There’s also some cool dessert items like teeny doughnuts with ice cream, mochi in a kind of nut flour, and NY cheesecake. Of course, there were many items on the specials screen that we didn’t try – for four bucks you can get a little personal bowl of ramen with a top on so it doesn’t spill when it comes zipping out at Mach 10.
The Recon hasn’t been active for some time – for a week or so we had eaten at every Asian restaurant on Convoy. Seven months later, there’s a half dozen new ones to try, and some oldies but goodies that have folded (RIP Pangaea). I would absolutely hate it if all my favorite restaurants turned into automated monsters like Kula, but it was a treat to return to Convoy and find something wildly new. Also, and as always, a treat to share a table with our comrades-in-arms from the Convoy Conquest (check out their review here).
It’s good to be home.