Kula Way to Eat Sushi
Kaiten Sushi bars are one of my favorite kinds of restaurant. They’re interactive, fun and cheap so if you’re taking a date out for something simple they’re usually a hit.
They’re also great with friends because they’re not too loud, you don’t have to worry about splitting the check and you get to fight over the popular dishes.
The novelty is also worth a mention Ń where else can you get your food delivered to you by conveyor belt? Even though Sushilicious has already been featured but it’s not the only place near campus. Kula Sushi Bar, located in Diamond Plaza, is cheaper, bigger and is just as great a place to have dinner on a Friday night.
Just up Jamboree, Kula is the closest Kaiten bar to campus.
The exterior of the restaurant is simple and clean with a sign proudly proclaiming “Revolving Sushi Bar” over the entryway. Unlike some of the more “hip” restaurants, the interior design is mostly utilitarian.
The door opens into a small hosting area where people can pick up to-go orders or put down their names for the wait list. Past that is a sprawling (for a revolving sushi bar anyway) dining room with a twisting conveyor belt. You’re not coming here to be amazed by the interior design.
The trade-off for the restaurant’s Spartan looks is its very generous seating. The conveyor belt twists and turns to maximize booth space so even if you are with a big group, you will get a seat quickly, unlike other Kaiten places. Despite how full the restaurant gets, you’re never standing around for more than 20 minutes. This gives you a little bit of time to explore Diamond Plaza and work up an appetite. Some places you’ll want to check out include 85C Bakery to grab a drink, or Sticki Picki to take some quick sticky pic photos. You’ll only have enough time to do one of those before your name is called though, you don’t want to miss your seat.
Service is fairly minimal because of the restaurant’s nature. Once you are seated and your drink orders have been taken, it’s up to you to pull plates off the conveyor belt.
You will only need the servers if you want to order a hand roll, dessert or something that’s been missing from the conveyor belt for a few minutes.
Depending on where you are seated on the belt, you may need to wave them over a little more often if someone before you is grabbing your favorites before you get a chance. Despite their limited role, the servers are still very diligent. Your drinks are refilled quickly and any special orders come out quickly.
What sets Kula apart from being a generic “Sushi Boat / Sushi Train / Sushi Whatever” place is the fact that it sets a standard price for each plate.
No matter if you’re getting salmon nigiri, California rolls or chopped Toro, every plate is two dollars. The only thing that changes is the amount of food you get but the plates never get too light. This makes Kula cheaper than any other Kaiten place on a normal day.
Surprisingly, the lower cost does not correlate with lower quality. The slices of fish are nice, thick and flavorful. The rice-to-fish ratio is almost perfect. I have never had a warm piece of nigiri here; nothing is left on the conveyor belt for too long. Sometimes the sushi rice is a little under-vinegared but that’s an extremely rare case.
With several dozen plates’ worth of experience under my belt, I have two suggestions.
Firstly, definitely try to score some toro. It’s one of the most premium cuts of fish you can get, cut from the belly of the blue fin tuna.
Unlike other tuna, which are deep red in color, toro is pink because of the immense amount of marbling present. You can either get it chopped over nori-wrapped rice or as one piece of nigiri (get it as nigiri).
It does get grabbed up pretty quickly so you might want to ask your waiter for a special order. Secondly, if you can handle it, try some of the wasabi.
It is freshly grated in-house, unlike many sushi places that use reconstituted goop. This results in better flavor and texture, and it will still clear your sinuses.
Kula is definitely a great place for dinner on a Friday night. Especially if you are craving good quality sushi but do not feel like spending an obscene amount of money. Choose the right people to eat with and you’ve got the beginning to a great night.