Kappa Sushi a great place for raw fish
Editor's note: Some folks won't even give sushi a chance. But you'll never know how good it is unless you give it a taste. Misawa folks, here's a place to give sushi a try.
Sushi snobs beware -- this week's review is on a place that's become one of our favorites in Misawa: Kappa Sushi.
Yes, I know it's a chain restaurant. Yes, I know there are wonderful hole-in-the-wall sushi joints all over coastal northern Japan, some just minutes away from Misawa Air Base.
But as a constantly packed parking lot can attest, Kappa offers cheap, quick and relatively tasty sushi. And it's one of the most English-friendly restaurants I've been to in Japan.
If you've been scared to try sushi, worried that your plate will end up looking more like a bait store than the buffet line you're used to, then this is the place for you. Trust me: I can't stand the thought of eating raw fish, but I love eating at Kappa because of the variety they offer.
To begin with, you're not just blindly ordering off a badly translated menu. At Kappa, the sushi is on constant display, circling past the tables on a conveyor belt. See something you like, reach out and grab it.
Given the choice, you would want to sit as close to the kitchen as possible, so you have first crack at the freshest sushi as it comes around the conveyor belt. But since the place is usually packed -- we had to wait about an hour one recent Friday night -- you're just happy to get a table. My wife taught me a trick to help ensure that we're not getting a chunk of sushi that's been rotating on the belt for 30 minutes: she orders everything we eat on the touch-pad screen at each table. The screen offers both Japanese and English translations and is incredibly easy to use. Even my 3-year-old can scroll through and find the bright orange fish eggs she loves to munch.
Soup and any alcohol you order are delivered by the waitress, and everything else comes to the table on a model bullet train.
My wife and kids try it all, from the eel to the scallops, the crab liver to the sea urchin. I stick with the boiled shrimp and crab, perched on top of a bite of rice with a dollop of wasabi.
Kappa also offers small dishes of fried fish and chicken, a cooked chunk of hamburger with mayonnaise served on rice, and seasonal specials.
Location: Misawa City, Japan
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday; doors open until 10:30 p.m.
Food: A wide selection of sushi, for adults and children. The English-friendly menu also includes some Japanese soup and noodle dishes, several desserts and fruit. Beer is also available.
Price: Cheap! Most plates are 105 yen, but are only 94 yen between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The restaurant accepts only yen, not dollars.
Clientele: Lots of Americans; family-friendly
Directions: Head straight out the main gate from Misawa Air Base. Turn right at the third traffic light; pass through three more lights. Kappa Sushi is on the left.
Web site: www.kappa-create.co.jp (in Japanese)
Note: This story was originally published in Stars and Stripes Pacific, April 11, 2010 edition.