Conveyor belts deliver Sushi-Rama’s fun plates
Japan has gifted the world with some pretty fun exports—karaoke and Nintendo, anyone? —but none more tasty and enjoyable than sushi. And when you put that delicious sushi on a conveyor belt and send it snaking through a multi-colored dining room? Well that’s just gold. Yummy, fishy, revolving gold.
Kudos to Jeff Osaka, of Osaka Ramen and the now-defunct Twelve, for bringing conveyor belt sushi, long a trend in Tokyo, New York and San Francisco, to the Mile High City. Sushi-Rama, in case you couldn’t tell by the name, is all about fun. The narrow, double-decker space exudes happiness, from its floor-to-ceiling Warholian sushi art to the bright plates making the rounds on the stainless steel belt.
Those spinning, humming plates are cleverly color-coded, ranging in price from $3 (for magenta) to $5 (sky blue). Each plate has between two to four pieces of nigiri or rolls, and when something you like rolls by, you grab it. Pop off the clear domed top, have your chopsticks at the ready, devour, repeat.
Favorites are the Pumpkin Dragon and Chrysalis rolls (both yellow plates; $3.50). The former is stuffed with sweet Japanese pumpkin tempura and marinated kelp and crowned with avocado and honey. The Chrysalis showcases shrimp tempura and crab on the inside, while unagi, avocado and kiwi topped it all off.
Other interesting rolls twirling their way through the eatery: Hot Pico (spicy poke topped with Pico de Gallo—yes, really); Salmon Tartar (salmon with—wait for it—capers); and Hama Rama (crab mix, scallop, yellowtail and shishito peppers).
You may be surprised how quickly you acquire a tower of empty, brightly hued little plates. Although the per-plate price is very reasonable, it can add up if, like us, you grab one of each.
Not everything comes via belt; salads and soups can be ordered via conventional wait staff, as well as the drinks. Aside from a short selection of beer and wine, you’ll find four frequently changing cold sakes and a well-curated (but also short) cocktail list.
While the sushi is definitely fresh and fun, Sushi-Rama is more about the novelty of an amusing dining experience than the food itself. For authentic, melt-in-your-mouth rolls, Denver has better (and pricier) options. But for sheer fun and entertainment, there’s no better restaurant in town. Try it out for a spin.
2615 Larimer St., Denver