The most futuristic aspect of Kaiten Zushi Nomad, a sushi restaurant that opens today at 276 Fifth Avenue, is the reference in the name to conveyor belts which wind through the restaurant, carrying plates of sushi past the diners, who can take whatever they wish. That angle, as I will demonstrate presently, is actually the least futuristic.
But back to the future: Kaiten Zushi Nomad is large — it occupies 5,000 square feet and seats 125. The place bears a more than passing resemblance to the interior of a factory. Diners order via a tablet and are served by robots. Dishes, prepared by human chefs, start at $5. To celebrate the grand opening, sushi and sides will all be half price today, Wednesday, July 19 between the hours of 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Back to those conveyor belts, which are referred to in the restaurant’s name, kaiten zushi, which translates variously to “conveyor belt sushi” or “sushi train.” From around 1990 to perhaps 2015, Manhattan was home to two budget-priced Japanese restaurants with the name East — one on Third Avenue near 27th Street and one at 210 E. 44th Street. There may have been others. All delivered food by means of conveyor belts that ran through the entirety of the restaurant.
Kaiten Zushi Nomad, 276 Fifth Avenue (bet., 29th St. and 30th St.); 212-671-6481.