"Kaiten zushi" is Japanese for "rotation sushi." Sushi-Rama is Denver's newest iteration of this restaurant style, with a conveyer belt rotating throughout the entire restaurant, bringing food directly to the tables.
It's a fun way to eat, a pick-as-you-go adventure that keeps your options open. But there is a limited kitchen menu that people may not notice with all the delicious sushi passing them by. The house-smoked ribs are on that menu.
"With this kind of restaurant, you can sit down and have food immediately. I think people like it because it's instant gratification. But the ribs, they take a little longer to prepare," explains chef Jesus Silva.
Hours, in fact. The process starts with a fresh rack of ribs. They are cleaned and seasoned with ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, and a sweet, house-made hoisin sauce. They are covered in water and then boiled to a safe cooking temperature before baking in the oven for three hours.
After the oven, chef adds more hoisin sauce before smoking them in a smoker he made himself. He uses a combination of cherry and pecan wood that adds to the sweetness of the sauce and gives the meat a slight nutty flavor. From there, he moves the ribs to the grill to seal that flavor in. A little more hoisin finishes it off on the plate.
"We wanted to do something different than seafood, specifically pork. And I had tried ribs like this and wanted to see if I could make my own. Originally, they were just a special, but people liked them so much that we added it to the menu."
They may look and smell like traditional barbecued ribs, but the Asian flavor is very pronounced. "This restaurant doesn't follow rules. So we did something different. I feel like this dish takes you out of the sushi bar and gives guests something less traditional."
Chef recommends a cold glass of sake with the dish. But then again, he recommends that with just about everything on the menu.