On labor day, I labored the day away trying to find a restaurant that was open since the Taste of Colorado was only good for a beer or three.
There was nothing to taste at the Taste of Colorado, so I opted to taste the Budweisers they had because I was not about to throw down 22-23 tickets (about $15) for a turkey leg when 15 tickets are $10.
If it Were Not for One Person, I Would Not Have Tried Sushi-rama
If it were not for Mary who appeared to be the manager at Sushi-rama, I would not be writing this because Sushi-rama was not high on my list of places to try although after my experience with her, she got me going “woaaahhh” and wanting to give them a try.
Due to it being labor day, people at another restaurant we had tried to go to were not laboring on Labor Day (the nerve of those liberals, I am joking), so I had to do some work myself to find something that was open.
After driving all the way down to the other place, I called Sushi-rama before making the trek down, but they did not pick up their phone.
I thought I’d have to find another restaurant, but after only a minute or two later, I got a call from a “720” number. To my surprise, it turned out to be Sushi-rama! They had called me back saying they had missed my call, so I was able to confirm that they were open, WOAH! That is cool because that has never happened to me before.
Sushi served on a belt, waterway, or bullet train are all part of what the Japanese call “kaiten” sushi.
There are a number of big chain kaiten sushi restaurants that are located in the United States, but the two I have tried are:
- Genki Sushi (www.genkisushiusa.com) from Japan with locations in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Kuwait, Philippines, China, Australia, Cambodia, Myanmar and the United States.
- Kura Sushi (www.kurausa.com) from Japan with 362 locations and 17 locations in the United States.
Genki has the bulk of their locations in Hawaii (in regards to US locations), and Kura Sushi is primarily on the mainland with their first location in Irvine, California.
When you walk into an IKEA (.com), from the time you are welcomed (hej) to your purchase of a “mörbylånga,” you may have caught on that they are Swedish although you probably did not know that Spotify is also a Swedish company because they don’t put that fact on blast or ask you to create a spellista.
Sushi-rama strikes a good balance between being a Japanese restaurant and producing an environment and experience that is not going to intimidate anybody new to Japanese food or this restaurant. There are several nice touches where you get the Japanese vibe through the soundtrack/music, yet you don’t have to know that hamachi is yellowtail because they have signage to help you with that (the more you know 🌈).
Can I get an eff’n Sapporo beer on draft here? Why yes you can sir!
I am glad you can because I am sick of all the wannabe Japanese spots slanging Orion which is a Okinawan beer (nothing against Okinawa, and I only got love for Okinawa and restaurants like Habuya in Tustin). That beer is as popular or prevalent in Japan as Kona beer is to the mainland in the U.S. (or Fosters in Australia or thinking that Stella is a classy beer, but it is the “wife beater” beer of Europe).
Oh, and if having Sapporo was not good enough, they also offer Japanese whiskies from Suntory and Nikka that are very nicely priced, and I just hope that pricing is for two ounce pours.
My biggest issue with Japanese restaurants in Colorado is that all the non-Japanese that open a Japanese restaurant have no clue what a real Japanese restaurant is like. I say that because all of the ones I have seen or been to here are just versions of Sushi Den which is not the essence of a Japanese restaurant which is so sad, so very sad, believe me.
At first, I thought it was slim pick’n’s till I realized that “fresh sushi is continuously being put on the belt, however, during slower business times the chefs will slow down the output to curb food waste.”
My question, is what happens to that sushi after 91 minutes, does the conveyor belts go right into the mouths of employees, the trash, or a multi-dimensional portal?
The individual seating up in here, and if you need a double wide, they offer booth seating on either sides of the restaurant.
I could not help but feel like I was on the set of Austin Powers at times.
As for the overall service. It was extremely good even though they were not busy, but they could have slacked off if they had wanted to although they did not do that.
The sushi is “fresh” yet who would know when some items are buried under a ton of toppings which is why I ordered the maguro nigiri (I forgot to take the pic) and grabbed a couple of the hosomaki’s off the belt to really get a sense of how their sushi really is.
Sorry for the crappy pics, but I was using my phone since I did not have my DSLR with me.
Even Genki and Kura Sushi offer a lot Americanized rolls which are probably the bulk of their business (and this business), but the think I noticed here is that the makizushi was on the very slim or scrawny side. In one word, I’d describe the two tiny rolls as “unsubstantial.”
You ever see how they eat pizza overseas in Asia? No, well, I’ll tell you. Pizza in Korea might just have raisins, squid, or cream cheese on it, and if you’re appalled by that, well that’s how Japanese feel about the rolls in a’Murica.
If you are wondering what is the biggest difference between an actual Japanese establishment catering to Asians or Japanese is that Japanese cuisine focuses a lot more on the ingredients natural flavors. Americanized sushi is covered, slathered, buried, and coated with sauce upon sauces (a total bukkakefest).
I always think a bathroom says something about the owner, business, designer, etc., and I always like businesses that carry things all the way through to their bathroom.
All that beer I drank went down the drain, but at least we got lucky and showed up during happy hour which is Monday-Friday (glad Labor Day was on a Monday), from 3-6 pm where all plates, wine, beer, sake, and cocktails are 25% off.
I have had my fair share of karaage and fried chicken, so I can tell you that I have had a lot of bad and good karaage. This time around, good karaage has prevailed and all is well in the land of potato starch.
Looks like Min approves of the karaage here.
I can not believe I forgot to take pics of the maguro? I could have sworn I took some, but I guess I did not. In its place, you can enjoy the pic of the tako (octopus).
For those of you who do see color, it breaks down to fuchsia (I’m all fancy with my colors): $1.50, yellow $2.00, green $2.50, and orange $3.00.
PROS, there are way more pros than cons: well, I would say in some ways it beats either of the two companies from Japan (woah) although it is not strictly for the food. Sushi-rama does that in a comprehensive way such as with the maguro nigiri which is much more substantial than Genki, they offer a full bar that neither Genki or Kura does, and the service is better than both Genki and Kura. Other aspects are that the pricing is on par with both Genki and Kura, and they strike a good balance with their dining experience for their respective markets: service, food, price and atmosphere (basically, I’m saying they didn’t try to do another douchey version of Sushi Den).
CONS, primarily concerning the rolls: they do come up short with their makizushi (rolls) in the way that they were prepared. It is not so much for the taste because most of the abominations were good for what they were. Instead, it was is more about how skimpy and not equally sized/cut, so some pieces felt like flimsy sauce covered piles of rice in some cases although it could be the location, a slacker in the BOH not wanting to labor on labor day, or the day I went (DTC).
Locations Near You
(RiNO my ass, it’s Five Points)
2615 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205
10012 Commons Street, Bldg C, Unit 106
Lone Tree, CO 80124
Seriously, who calls back missed calls…. I don’t.