Located at 2615 Larimer Street in a colorful 1,500 square foot space designed by Liv Studio, Sushi Rama is led by executive chef Jesus Silva. The chef, who also directs the two locations of Osaka Ramen, has worked for some eight years as sushi chef at Sushi Sasa. His lengthy culinary career includes stints at Tamayo and the long-shuttered Mao.
The RiNo restaurant, owned in part by chef Jeff Osaka, is centered around kaiten, a conveyor belt that provides a constant supply of small sushi bites. The serving format, popular in the 80s, may be seeing a resurgence if for nothing else but its visual entertainment. The new King Soopers in LoDo launched with one earlier this year and Longmont has its own sushi carousel at Sushi Kaiten.
When it opens to the public on Sunday, Sushi Rama will give guests a variety of options. An a la carte menu available on the main floor and the mezzanine includes classic nigiri — maguro to mackerel, octopus, salmon roe, and fresh water eel. Rolls, like the spicy poke, grilled yellowtail (Silva's favorite), and Hama Rama (crab mix and scallop), are also available and so are small dishes like chicken lettuce wraps, spicy rock shrimp, and beef skewers.
During peak dining hours, when the conveyor belt will be functioning, those seated on the main level will be able to simply pick up plates from the conveyor belt, priced according to the color of the plate. At the end of the meal, the plates are tallied and added to the bill. The advantage of the conveyor belt is that the plates are smaller than what one can order a la carte. If you want to try small bite of a variety of rolls, for example, this is the way to go.
Freshness is very important to chef Silva and he is confident that the system at the new RiNo restaurant is what distinguishes his sushi from that found on the conveyor belt just down the street at King Soopers. At Sushi Rama, every plate has a microchip on the bobbom. A signal lets the kitchen know when the plate has gone through too many rotations on the belt and needs to be removed. What happens to it? Silva says they go to makanai, the Japanese term for family meal.
The restaurant, which seats about 40 guests downstairs and another 20 on the mezzanine, also offers table side cocktails from a cart that can pull up next to the guests. A beer, wine, and sake list is also available.
Sushi Rama will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.