These are the places where patrons are seated around a large oval-shaped counter and plate of sushi revolve on the counter on a conveyor belt. When you see something that catches your fancy you grab it. You can also shout out your requests and the sushi chefs will musically shout back something like “one freshwater eel coming up!”
My wife, and other Japanese women I have known, have told me that they have never been to a kaiten sushi. Indeed, you don’t see many women there by themselves. The shouting of orders, the repeating of orders by the chefs, and the occasional humorous interactions that follow are perhaps more in tune with a male kind of camaraderie.
Anyway, yesterday I walked past a new HUGE kaiten sushi place. I was looking for a place to have lunch and was curious about this place so I walked it. It was unlike any others I had seen. The counters were very large and there were about four of them in the restaurant. There were entire families there, not just the usual cadre of men by themselves. In such a large place you would have to shout your requests pretty loudly to be heard. With so many customers a veritable cacophony would be the inevitable result. So they got around this problem by placing intercoms in front of each customer!
But the most striking feature was the menu. While the orthodox sushi bar fare was available – and really good, I may add – there were some pretty bizarre items. There were cakes going around on the conveyor belt, a nice-looking chocolate cake, a sedate cheesecake and a gaudy pink strawberry-icing cake. They also took freedoms with the sushi. They actually had strips of roast chicken or roast pork on little beds of rice. But what really took the cake (no pun intended) were the miniature hamburger patties on rice. They were cute and looked good. I was in the mood for the standard fare and put a rain check on the weird stuff.
Needless to say, I will be back.