If there is one thing that you should take away from this review, it’s this: SushiSan is not your average conveyor-belt sushi location. In fact, it’s one of the best conveyor-belt sushi restaurants I’ve tried to this day, which is probably part of the owner’s plan to create a new category of upscale conveyor-belt restaurants or kaiten sushi.
Located in front of Ala Moana Center, on the makai side of Kapiolani Boulevard, SushiSan offers plentiful parking nearby, including its own adjacent parking lot. Inside, SushiSan offers a clean, modern feel in line with the upscale reputation it’s going for.
Service was excellent. The staff was attentive, friendly and knowledgeable. While it should be noted that — at 1:30 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon — the restaurant was fairly empty, we were left with no reason to believe that service would drop below acceptable levels during normal meal hours.
There was a great variety of sushi available and, as we mentioned before, all of it was very good in terms of both preparation and flavor, and we got to find out why.
During our visit, we had the pleasure of meeting Jin “Jay” Kim, the owner of SushiSan, who explained that the reason the sushi was so good was because they used fresh, whole fish from local markets and never kept any sushi from the day before, all in order to keep the quality high.
Jay’s experience with sushi comes from his father, a restaurateur in his native Korea. When Jin came to study at UH, he noticed that conveyor-belt sushi — wildly popular in Hawaii — had become fast food, yet felt there was an opportunity for keeping the kaiten-style way of serving, while increasing the quality back to what was customary for sushi — traditionally considered a Japanese art form.
While SushiSan is still a very new restaurant (the grand opening was on March 7), Jay’s already running a very smooth operation and quickly working out whatever growing pains are left.
And last but not least, Jay seems to have struck a balance between quality food and reasonable prices: Our meal of 12 dishes totaled $33.83 and left three reviewers feeling comfortably satisfied in both belly and palate.
Bottom line: If you’re a fan of conveyor belt sushi, or just sushi in general, SushiSan is a great new option with great food, service and prices.
1409 Kapiolani Blvd.