Tuesday, May 26, 2009

KG Sushi Train

The first time I dined at a kaiten-zushi restaurant was in the basement of a huge department store in Seoul....Seoul Train! Har har.

This works when you know you'll have a lot of customers during the lunch rush or when the restaurant caters to a constant but small stream of customers like in Seoul with only 8 bar stools. Although it's fast food sushi, the prices aren't necessarily better because they cut down on the portions per plate and each plate is priced according to its color code (the rim of the plate). For example, when you order a maki roll at a regular sushi restaurant, you can expect at least 5 cuts of the roll. I got only 2 pieces at half the price of a normal 5-piece roll at the sushi train in Seoul.

Conveyor Belt Sushi in a Seoul Department Store cafeteria
Maki and Ebi Sushi (Seoul)

I visited Austin's KG Sushi Train (part of Korea Garden) during its grand opening week (January 2009) with its special of $1.50 per plate, and I haven't been back now that prices have normalized...Perhaps I'll revisit one of these lazy summer days.

KG Sushi Train
Korea Garden is located north of the UT campus and thus can't expect to capture the power lunch clientele of downtown Austin. There were only 6 people at the train bar when I got there for the grand opening special. Disregarding the minor start up kinks (the long time lapse between each variety of plates to come out), I could see that the train could be problematic for Korea Garden. How fresh can the sushi be rotating for who knows how long? This wasn't a problem for me when I went because I went right when they opened for lunch, but I noticed quite a few old plates still making the rounds when I paid my bill and new customers arrived. However, if KG cuts down on the number of plates circulating on the conveyor belt, they may end up lacking variety.

Of course, no one expects to get authentic Japanese cuisine in a Korean restaurant, but like with Chinese food in any mall's food court, it is a guilty pleasure. The sushi offerings at KG are tasty and fun. I get excited as new dishes appear at the beginning of the belt and curse customers under my breath when they get the ones I want. It's almost more a "thing to do" in Austin than a "place to eat."

**Must-Haves***Korean Chilled Sweet Potato Noodles; Baked Green Lipped Mussels

California Roll and Spider Roll

Unagi Avocado Roll and Seared Salmon Roll

Salmon Sushi and Tamagoyaki Sushi

**Skip These** Tempura Salmon Roll and Stuffed Mushrooms

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