First Dish: Kura Sushi

Kristy DurkinJanuary 17, 2022
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Photo by Kristy Durkin 

Kura Sushi is on the cutting edge of the revolving sushi concept internationally and now nationally. We are lucky enough to have a new location right here in the heart of Phoenix.

Located at 20th St and Camelback Rd at the shopping center anchored by Fry’s, you will spot the unassuming location by the line of patrons outside. Lines seem to start forming just before they open at 11 a.m. each day, so if you are planning a visit, go early or expect a bit of a wait.

Their innovative check-in process is a self-service tablet which allows you to sign in, then indicates what position you are in line. Once inside, the minimalist layout is sleek and modern, but the staff’s friendly and welcoming demeanor warm up the atmosphere.


Photo by Kristy Durkin

We were seated at a booth and the conveyor belt was already in motion with eye-catching rolls and bites sailing by. Our waitress gave us an overview of how the concept worked and explained the correct way of grabbing and discarding the moving plates. She also noted that if we didn’t see what we wanted on the belt, to use the mounted touchscreen menu (with pictures) to place an order and the dishes would arrive on a separate conveyor belt above and stop specifically at our table. Drinks are also ordered on the touchscreen menu with options like tea, soft drinks, beer and sake and get this: delivered by a robot! A few minutes after we places our drink order, a robot straight out of Star Wars rolled up carrying our beverages. Very futuristic!

It was time for our eating adventure to begin and we felt like kids in a candy store with a plethora of options at our fingertips to nab or type into the menu. Traditional favorites like edamame, real crab California roll, spicy tuna and caterpillar roll are readily on rotation. Our hands got to work and we started grabbing goodies like the shrimp avocado roll, garlic ponzu sashimi and red snapper carpaccio. At just $3.10 a plate, it’s hard to say no as these tempting beauts go sailing by. Just because these dishes are being mass-prepared, don’t for one second think that affected the quality of the sushi. Each roll I consumed was delicious with premium ingredients, with nothing spared. A few of my favorites were the red dragon roll, Texan roll and real crab meat roll. Heartier hot dishes like ramen and udon are available on the touchscreen menu so don’t forget to send those to your table. If you aren’t paying attention because you are memorized by the belt (like I was), you will hear a beep as they are arriving.


Photo by Kristy Durkin

For dessert: my favorite Japanese small bite, sesame balls. Even though I was full, I couldn’t help but indulge in two orders. It was the perfect warm and comforting treat to end the meal. Other tempting options include mochi ice cream, cheesecake and warabimochi, but I’ll have to save those for my next visit. Just when you thought eating was the most fun part – don’t forget to discard your dirty plates into your table’s plate return. Your screen keeps a tally and after five dirty plates, a short anime begins on your menu screen and after 15 plates, a small prize in a plastic egg is delivered, mimicking a giant gumball machine.

Kura is not just a delicious sushi joint, but a fun-filled immersive experience. This innovative restaurant will have you feeling giddy and full as you walk out. Put this on your foodie list and with a new location also open in Chandler, Kura is convenient to most areas of the Valley. Also, I highly recommend it for all ages as I saw a table with kids who were giggling and in awe, almost having as much fun as me. Almost.

1949 E. Camelback Rd., Ste. 164, Phoenix, 520-479-2888, kurasushi.com

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