Of course you can ask a server for descriptions. But what fun is that, when you can pick purely based on looks?
At the new sushi restaurant in Bend, the food is delivered by conveyor belt. Sora Sushi is located downtown near Franklin and Bond. Bar, as well as booth seats, put you in front of a rotating conveyor belt that weaves throughout the restaurant.
This is the next level in instant gratification dining. Still, I had to watch the dishes for a while before picking one. Choosing solely based on appearance, the first dish I selected was a cucumber salad on an orange plate. While I was a little late to the party, I soon enough figured out that with conveyor belt sushi, the color indicates the price: orange $1.95, green $2.95, blue $3.95 and black $4.95. Simply stack your empty plates, and when you're ready to leave, they count your plates and you pay at the counter.
Grabbing my chopsticks, I picked up a cucumber wedge sprinkled with sesame seeds and took my first bite. It was bright and refreshing. The rice wine dressing was mildly tangy and sweet. If this bite was any indication, the rest of the meal was going to be tasty.
While it's something of a novelty to have food delivered via conveyor belt, it actually made me wonder why more food isn't served this way. I wanted to try some sushi next and there were lots of options: simple maki rolls with tuna, complex uramaki rolls with tempura and drizzled creamy sauces, nigiri with salmon, tuna or tamago (sweet egg custard) and more. I started with the simple tuna maki roll, served in a set of six on a green plate. It was delicious so I tried lots more.
If the excitement of the conveyor belt isn't your thing or you want something hot, Sora Sushi has a full menu of appetizers, lunch sushi combos, rice bowls, noodle soups, stir fried noodles, bento boxes, sashimi appetizers and sashimi and sushi combos.
With the popularity of ramen in Bend these days, I was curious to see how Sora stacked up. I ordered the Chashu Ramen with chicken flavored broth and slices of pork. The portion size was huge and the noodles came served in a large, beautiful, speckled, ceramic bowl. The broth and noodles were a little bland but the pork was tender and delicious. With a healthy dose of soy sauce, chili oil and red pepper mix the ramen was spicy and flavorful. If you try the ramen, be prepared to season it on your own.
The confections are also paraded in front of you, tempting you to choose from eclairs, fresh orange slices, rice cakes, sesame balls and ice cream mochi. I wanted to be adventurous so I tried the black sesame-crusted rice cake—glutinous rice stuffed with a sweetened red bean paste. The texture is pillowy and the flavor lightly sweet. I liked it, but my dining partner loved it. I enjoyed the creamy texture of the green tea mochi ice cream even more.
With good food, quick service and reasonable prices, chances are you, too, will soon discover the sushi-go-round makes eating out just a bit more fun.
744 NW Bond St., Suite C, Bend