Restaurant of the Week: Kula

Kula Revolving Sushi Bar, 9659 Milliken Ave. (at 4th), Rancho Cucamonga

Said to be the Inland Empire’s first revolving sushi bar, Kula opened in August 2012 across from Ontario Mills. It’s a Southern California chain with six other locations, including Rowland Heights. Revolving would seem to imply it’s round, but really it’s a conveyor belt that wends its way around the room. It’s almost like an elaborate model train layout, only with salmon nigiri instead of coal cars.

Almost everything is $2, whether it’s sushi, hand rolls, cut rolls, salads, grill items, desserts or sodas. (Udon, however, is $5.) No matter where you sit, plates trundle by, covered by a clear plastic lid, ready to be snagged off the belt. A friend and I had lunch the other day, leaving stuffed after a total bill of $32.

Kula isn’t the place to go for high-end sushi, obviously, and the cuts of fish were thinner than is typical. Most plates had two pieces, meaning you and a companion could each have one piece and move on. The experience was novel, and if you’re undemanding, the sushi is good enough. You can sit at the sushi bar if you like conversing with the chefs, although they seem busy cranking out the sushi; for everyone else, you don’t really have to deal with anyone. It’s kind of like the automats of old.

The closer you sit to the bar, the fresher your items, potentially. We sat in the middle of the room. Pointing to the folks at the far end, my friend commented, “Those people really get whatever it is we don’t want.” I suppose the people at the bar were saying that about us.

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  • Andy Sze

    It seems that many things we take for granted in LA and OC are a “first” for the IE.

    Despise my dislike of Revolving Sushi (aka Kaiten kuru sushi, and dislike due to it’s low quality and seemingly mayonnaise laden sushi) I’ve also been wanting to visit Kula cause it looks cool. At least the Brea location has a very modern interior. Glad to see you’ve found it vely intelesting.

  • Andy Sze

    hey David, give Genki Sushi a try. I’ve never eaten at the US locations (they only have 1 in California, in Santa Ana), but they are the kaiten kuru sushi giant of Japan. Skimming the menu, it doesn’t look as expansive as the overseas menus. I watched a documentary about them on NHK TV and was fascinated by the scale of their operations. Finally ate at one of their stores in HK earlier this year, though I was a bit mixed about the food. http://www.genkisushiusa.com/index.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/ronald.scott1 Ronald Scott

    Hey I was outside having Panda Express with my crew from OPARC the day you took this pic

    • davidallen909

      You should have wandered into the frame!

  • Andy Sze

    tried making it to Kula in Brea on Friday night. Ended up at Bruxie instead. They said the CH store just opened a few days ago. Tried going to Kula for lunch on Sat… wife wanted Bakers instead so I said ok then, Kula for dinner. A couple hours laters and a couple hundred bucks down into the Cucamonga coffers…. we go home for dinner. No dinero left. Kula will have to wait yet another day.

    • davidallen909

      What’d you think of Bruxie? Yes, it opened Wednesday.

      • Andy Sze

        I’ve never gone to the original Bruxie in Orange or the new on in CH, but having been to the one in Brea 2X… it’s hit or miss depending on the item. I thought the chicken n waffle was a miss (nothing spectacular), the lemon curd was too tart.. but the creme brulee was a solid hit. It’s as if they were able to recreate all the tastes and textures of a creme brulee in ways you’ve never eaten it before.

  • Robin Gonzalez

    Hey, I LIVE in Kula! (Upcountry Maui)

    I had no idea there was a restaurant named Kula near where I used to live (in Pomona). I was hoping it was something other than a mediocre sushi place though. The world doesn’t need any more of those.

    • davidallen909

      From Pomona to Kula. That’s cool-a.

  • Andy Sze

    I finally went to Kula in RC today for lunch and verdict is yes, we like it. I definitely like it better than other places we’ve been too. Variety is not bad and not too many of the fried and kewpie laiden sushi’s either. Me and my wife walked away stuffed after 12 plates total. Some other places have different color plates for different prices, but there you don’t really think much of how much this one costs vs the other colored plates. almost everything ist he same price so just pick ti up. My only real complaint is that the sushi conveyor moves waay too fast.. it’s a bit dizzying at first. I like this find. Thanks David.

    • Andy Sze

      they had some things like chicken karage and ageshi tofu that were revolving along the belt. those really need to be eaten freshly made from the kitchen. They become soggy as they sit on the belt. I probably could have asked the chef to make me some fresh… but then again, it’s only $2 a plate.

      • davidallen909

        Andy, glad you enjoyed it. Yes, having everything the same price, and a very low price at that, means you can just grab plates and not worry about it. But you’re right, the belt moves fast, so you have to be somewhat impulsive.