Marina Eats: Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

This past July gave me the chance to eat not just once, but twice at Kura Sushi, a popular conveyor belt sushi franchise from Japan that opened a Bellevue, WA location almost exactly a year prior in 2021. I had actually sworn off of conveyor belt sushi a handful of years before this point thanks to a horrifying experience at another chain, but the convincing of a mother-in-law can be very, very strong. Given she was our guest for the week and that I had seen plenty of praise for the restaurant from others in Japan, I figured now was as good a time as any to suspend my wariness and try Kura Sushi.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Collaboration!

There are several reasons why Kura Sushi stands out from other restaurants of its kind, most notably the plate-count reward system, table touchpad ordering, and seasonal anime collaborations. Obviously, the anime rewards caught my interest the most, particularly because the current partnership features Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, one of the most fantastic-looking action series currently airing. I’m not one to go out of my way anymore for anime goods since I’ve had my fill of conventions, but there’s just something irresistible about winning a prize, especially from something I enjoy like eating!

Favorite Plates

Green and red plates go in the chute and towards the reward count!
Handrolls are always a favorite with their ample seaweed for every delicious bite
The ramen here really isn’t too bad! Simple, not too salty, and a nice reprieve from sushi
Both the red bean taiyaki and soymilk doughnuts are highly recommended. The combination of crispy light dough and vanilla ice cream is the perfect way to finish off a meal.

I made sure over my two visits to try a variety of different types of sushi, hot foods, and even desserts so I’d have a better idea of what does and does not work for me at this restaurant for future visits. While those listed below are my personal favorites so far, that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy something I didn’t like or try. If your visit will be your first, I highly recommend getting a little bit of everything–go on your own food adventure!

  • All variants of one type of nigiri, such as sockeye (red) salmon, dashi olive salmon, umami oil salmon, garlic ponzu salmon, and aburi salmon with miso cream cheese. Why? Picking one type of fish and trying different versions can widen your appreciation for a single ingredient as well as give you an idea of what you’ll prefer in the future. I ended up enjoying all of these, but most of all I enjoyed the seared salmon with Japanese mayo.
  • Seared Scallop with Japanese Mayo – Something about barely cooked sushi and creamy sweet mayo just works so well
  • Salmon Golden Crunchy Roll – I’m not usually one to get messy rolls, at least not since my college days before I had experienced high quality sushi, but they can be nostalgic and delicious in their own right. This crunchy roll takes its name seriously, with the mix of crisp panko and spicy sauce combining into that perfect bite of salmon.
  • Tuna Yukhoe – I was extremely surprised to see gunkan like this here! I never see egg yolk included among most other conveyor belt sushi for some reason. This one gives you that egg runniness over the rice and tuna sweet from the BBQ sauce drizzled over everything.
  • Noodle soups – Pictured above is tantanmen, a Japanese take on a Sichuan classic that includes spicy miso soup filled with ramen noodles, braised pork, and egg. It might seem weird to recommend noodles at a sushi restaurant, but it provides a nice break in between all the rice and fish.
  • Chicken gyoza and crispy chicken – The same idea of a break applies here to these deep fried sides. Who doesn’t love fried food!?
  • Save room for dessert – Because Kura Sushi offers a fair number of delightful choices, including soymilk doughnuts with vanilla ice cream, taiyaki with vanilla ice cream, Hokkaido milk creamy tart, warabimochi, and even fresh cut watermelon for those who just want unadulterated fruit.

Rewards

Apparently I’m super lucky getting a lanyard for my first prize? I look forward to using it for the next Sakuracon I attend, whenever that might be.
Our second visit, I came away with a Zenitsu pin which I actually wanted because of a friend, and I also had the fun of explaining this character to our friends who came with us, “He’s a scared kid who fights better when asleep.”

Kura Sushi is probably most famous for is its reward system. For every 5 plates you drop into the slot, a small video plays on the touchpad screen detailed a unique story about the mascots chasing a recipe thief. Every 15 plates, you win a prize from the gacha just above the screen. These rewards are where the collaboration apply, with everything right now centering on Demon Slayer.

Our first visit, I won the apparently more rare lanyard. Other possibilities include pins and keychains. Both times we were able to get past two tiers of gacha rewards, meaning an overall total of more than 30 plates each session. For parties of 3 and 4, respectively, that isn’t too bad, right? Even dining as a single or duo table, getting to that first 15 doesn’t seem to difficult, particularly if you focus on the plates that fit into the slot rather than the larger ones that don’t count towards the rewards.

Final Impressions

After my visits, I believe my aversion to conveyor belts is now cured! I don’t think I’ll be going out of my way anytime soon to go back to visiting others, but I’m definitely going to keep my eye on the Kura Sushi collaboration schedule for future anime. This is a fun experience for a first timer and for groups, since you can work together up the reward chain.

Something else I forgot to mention is that service also includes robots who deliver your cold soda and water. Apparently the first time our friends came the robots weren’t yet present, but both times I went they zoomed right on over with our drinks. The novelty here is pretty awesome, especially because the units include dialogue letting you know your drinks are ready and telling you to enjoy them. They’re also pretty good at sensing movement and distance with people who might walk around them, although there was one mishap our second visit where a customer quickly and unexpectedly turned right into the robot and knocked over its drinks. There wasn’t really much the unit could have done to avoid the collision. I do think a human server would have done a better job of keeping a hold of the tray or glasses, so there’s definite room for improvement there if the restaurant intends to keep using these robots.

If Kura Sushi is in your city, I recommend a visit if you haven’t already been! The chain also has a mobile app where you can join a waitlist, order, and claim coupons including cash back coupons for money spent. Rewards members also get exclusive prizes different from the gacha rewards. They have locations in many cities across the U.S., Japan, and Taiwan now, so the chance is much closer than you might think.

Rating: 1 dango


*Rating system:

  • 0 dango – average and forgettable.
  • 1 dango – very good in its category.
  • 2 dango – excellent restaurant that is worth a try.
  • 3 dango – exceptional restaurant one must experience.

10 thoughts on “Marina Eats: Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

  1. Ooo! This sounds so awesome! I love sushi, but have had bad experiences with local conveyor belt sushi places. But I’m always willing to try something new! Thanks for the restaurant review, not a whole lot of anime bloggers write about that so it’s a nice change!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’d like to do more restaurant reviews for Japanese food if the chance pops up especially now that people are starting to get out more after the pandemic. The only issue is my reviews will probably skew more local given there aren’t too many chain Japanese restaurants I’m aware of. If you know of any, feel free to let me know and I’ll check if any are in my area ^.^

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Might have to check ’em out next time I’m over in Bellevue… which I have no idea when that might be. That’s nowhere near our normal stomping grounds when we’re over on the Eastside.

    I miss the Blue C, it was our normal go-to when catching an anime movie at Southcenter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • just curious, but where do you normally hang out when on the Eastside? Depending on where I might be able to recommend some places, OR I’m always happy to get some from you since I live in that area.

      I remember Blue C! That was probably my first sushi belt restaurant ever that I experienced in downtown Seattle shortly after moving several years ago. The chain’s closure was so bizarre and abrupt.

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      • Generally we’re either downtown(ish) hitting Uwajimaya, or Southcenter/Renton/IKEA area and south of there. We’re usually shopping for stuff that’s not available Westsound or watching a movie that’s not playing Westsound.

        We pretty much usually eat at IKEA, The Rock Pizza, Southcenter or Uwajimaya’s food court… So, that’s the extent of what I can recommend. 🙂

        If you ever come over to the Kitsap Peninsula, I have a ton of recommendations! 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not familiar with the Rock Pizza, so that at least is new to me 😀 And I’ll definitely hit you up for ideas next time we’re in your area!

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