Conveyor-Belt Sushi Rolls Into Scarsdale

Kura Revolving Sushi opens its first restaurant in Westchester, bringing conveyor-belt sushi to the community.

At Kura Revolving Sushi in Scarsdale’s Midway Shopping Center, a polite nod of acknowledgment is the appropriate response to the staff’s in-unison greeting of “Irasshaimase!” or “Welcome to my restaurant,” in Japanese.

This is not a full-service restaurant concept, nor would I call it counter service; Kura is in its own category: kaitenzushi or conveyor-belt sushi. Food is delivered to the table, not by servers, but via two conveyor belts; the lower is a variety of circulating dishes from which customers can grab directly the dishes they want, while the upper delivers to the guest the dishes ordered via a table touchscreen.

sushi
Sushi

This system lends a futuristic A.I. feel to it (although I did spot actual humans in the kitchen preparing the food). There is even a drink runner robot; it was not functioning when I visited, so I hope to see R2D2 Junior up and running on my next visit. There is still (human) staff present to bring drinks to the table, explain the ordering procedure, refill waters, clear the table, and bring the check.

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Founded in 1977, Kura Sushi has grown significantly with more than 500 locations across Japan, Taiwan, and the United States (63 in America since the first U.S. one opened in 2008). Scarsdale is the first Westchester County location. The menus are consistent nationwide. But overseas, there are no Westernized rolls that present bold colors and strong flavors by adding high-fat ingredients such as mayonnaise, avocado, and cream cheese.

sushi
Sushi

Each plate is specially priced ($3.85 for sushi with two to three pieces per plate; prices vary for other dishes, including udon, ramen, sides, desserts). And, darn it, there are many plates to choose from: more than 140 items, ranging from your basic salmon nigiri and California roll to sea urchin gunkan and yellowtail cheek.

The tonkotsu ramen (pork, boiled egg, green onion), spicy garlic popcorn shrimp roll, tuna yukhoe (seaweed-wrapped tuna and sushi rice topped with a boiled egg yolk and drizzled in a sweet Japanese barbecue sauce), umami cucumber salad, crispy rice with crab mayo, and spider roll with fried crab are items I would order again. There are some interesting desserts to sample, including black sesame mochi ice cream, Japanese-style soymilk doughnuts, and taiyaki ice cream (a fish-shaped pastry filled with sweet red bean paste paired with vanilla ice cream).

sushi
Sushi

Kura states the offerings are free from artificial seasonings, sweeteners, colorings, and preservatives, which isn’t always the case with big food chains.

Also, there is a certain appeal for children here, as prizes are also part of the experience. As you finish a plate, you insert it into a small slot near your table. For every five plates inserted, a colorful cartoon animation lights up on the kiosk; reach 15 plates, and you earn a prize (typically an anime badge). Manager Ryo Shibazaki says on a busy dinner service, they go through about 3,000 plates of sushi — that’s a lot of badges.

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Ryo Shibazaki
Ryo Shibazaki

Beyond the novelty and fun of the conveyor belt, Kura is a solid and relatively affordable dining experience for a casual lunch or dinner.

Kura Revolving Sushi
Midway Shopping Center, 913a Central Ave, Scarsdale; 914.215.5885
Website

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