Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Kula Conveyor Belt Sushi

Kula Sushi - Conveyor

There are a few good things about the population explosion in Austin, one of the most compelling being the slow expansion of more ethnic food options in our fair city. The arrival of Kula Revolving Sushi Bar is evidence of this growth, and based on the ever-present crowds of Austinites waiting for a table here, Austin was ready.

Now that I have a couple of visits under my belt (literally), I've gathered a few tips for those of you who haven't yet been (and maybe even a couple for those of you who have).

1.  Be Prepared for a Wait
Everyone is super excited to check this place out, and they don't take reservations, so right now there's pretty much always a wait. The good news is, it goes fast. Both times I've been, the wait was shorter than the electronic check-in kiosk estimated (just to give you an idea of what to expect, I waited about 45 minutes on my first visit and 30 minutes on my second - both times for dinner). You can choose to get a text when you're close to being seated, which means you can go across the street to Black Star Co-op for some pre-gaming if you like.

Kula Sushi - Seating

2.  Ordering Tips
•  If it's your first visit to Kula, your server will show you how to remove plates from the conveyor belt (don't take the whole dome!) and walk you through the digital ordering system. One thing we missed the first time we went is that there's a Next button for some of the sections of the menu (we explored the various tabs, but didn't notice that some tabs had several pages).

•  There's a button on the pad to summon your server. You'll probably need to do this if you need a water refill - they don't come back regularly to check on you.

• Everything on the conveyor belt is $2.25/plate. On the digital menu, any item without a price is $2.25; the things that cost more are marked with a price.

• A couple of the items I liked off the digital menu:

Kula Sushi - Ramen
Ramen - at just $5.80 a bowl, this is a great deal - and the ramen is surprisingly good.

Kula Sushi - Poke
"Poke" - I put this in quotes because this is not like any poke I've ever had. It's more like a chirashi bowl with some sort of really flavorful (and delicious) oil poured over the top. Also $5.80.

Kula Sushi - Scallop Hand Roll
Spicy scallop Hand Roll - at $2.25 apiece, the hand rolls are an excellent value.

• Conveyor belt favorites:
  - Any salmon nigiri;
  - Any beef nigiri;
  - Ikura (salmon roe);
  - Seared scallop with Japanese mayo;
  - Crispy rice with spicy salmon;*
  - Sesame balls*

* I highly recommend ordering any fried items off the menu, even though they're available on the conveyor belt. They taste better fresh!

Kula Sushi - Salmon

Kula Sushi - Beef Nigiri
• Avoid:
  - Uni - uni is one of my favorite things in the world, but the uni I tried here did not taste fresh. :(
  - Maki - I've tried four different maki rolls here - would not order any again.

3.  Have Fun!
Both of my visits here were a ton of fun. I love being able to "shop" the conveyor belt and explore the menu simultaneously. Plus, the cartoons that play for every five plates you buy and the prizes you win for every fifteen plates you buy add to the festiveness of the experience. If your kids are adventurous eaters, they will love it. If you are just young at heart, you'll love it, too!

Is it the best sushi in town? Of course not. But it's better and much more interesting than grocery store sushi, with plenty of options available for your non-sushi-loving friends, too. Mostly, you're here for the experience - and I think it's one you'll enjoy.

Kula Sushi
6929 Airport Blvd., Suite 125
Austin, TX 78752
(737) 209-8799


  1. Thank you for the tips, Michelle! I'm looking forward to trying out conveyor belt sushi, and now I feel more prepared. Come to me, salmon!

    1. LOL! I have a bias toward salmon because it seems like it consistently tastes good/fresh, even when the quality isn't A++. But I am sure there is other fantastic nigiri there - we were so busy eating everything else we just didn't get to it! :D

  2. This is really helpful! Sometimes I avoid places where I think I may be overwhelmed by the novelty but no I'm prepared!

    1. <3 Girl, you got this! It's really very fun - definitely worth wading through the wait and the tiny learning curve. BTW, still giggling at that photo you took on Sunday...

  3. Replies
    1. Anything you'd add, Errol?!?

    2. Right offhand, if you're by yourself, and want to eat cheap, fast, & good, this is the new best deal in Austin. I've never had to wait for a counter seat yet. Oh yeah, avoid the uni, but do the karaage.

    3. Oooo, definitely noting the karaage tip for my non-sushi-eating husband...

    4. I took a vegetarian there, they weren't impressed. But non-fish eaters should have a fairly good time of it - beef, noodles and definitely that karaage option.

    5. Yeah, not a whole ton of vegetarian options (other than natto...eww! ;) )

    6. So your blog motivated me to pop by Kula today, and $8.34 for two sushi plates & one hot dish is a good deal; unfortunately, the "Fried Marinated Tuna" may have been the very worst thing I've ever eaten in this current existence. wouldn't offer it to your dog or my cat. Should've gotten the karaage.

    7. Oh dear. Thanks for the heads-up. That sounds pretty awful.

  4. Yesss! My first restaurant job was at a trendy conveyor belt sushi place in Seattle! (But the servers had a lot more work to do without all the crazy ipads and stuff that this one seems to have.) I can't wait to check it out and do a lil' walk down memory lane... aka cheap sushi lane.

    1. Not having the digital ordering thing would mean a TON of work for the servers - I can't imagine! There is a separate conveyor system for the stuff that's ordered off the menu that is pretty cool. I love the way it whisks your food out and stops at your table, like your very own conveyor butler!

    2. I may have been to that sushi place when I lived in Seattle! I definitely went to a conveyor belt sushi place there, but I can't remember the name.

  5. Thank you for the review and tips. Would you know how billing and seating work for group dining? Like separate checks or do we keep track individually? Thank you.

    1. Hi KC! Thanks for visiting! The digital ordering pad keeps track of your bill (you insert the plates you get off the conveyor into this little slot and it counts them up for you). There's only one pad per table, so I don't think there's a way for it to track more than one order at a time. However, the first time I went, we gave the server 4 credit cards, and that wasn't a problem. We just split it evenly, but I'm sure you could just tell the server how to split the tab. I think you'd have to figure out who owned how much yourselves, though!

  6. I wanna go back for the fun and try the hand rolls!


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