Making the Rounds at SushiSan

Columns Order of the Day

April 24, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

With its recent grand opening March 6, SushiSan might be considered the “new kid on the block” in the neighborhood of Kaiten-style sushi restaurants. However, owner Jay Kim has wasted no time bringing new features and flavors to create a unique sushi dining experience for his customers.

  • A marvelous array of sushi greets patrons at SushiSan.
  • White Button Mushroom Sushi ($3.20)
  • Spicy Ebi Roll (tempura shrimp and spicy ahi topping) ($4.80)
  • Honey Moon Roll ($2.20) with bacon, lettuce and honey mustard sauce.
  • Beef Tataki ($3.20)
  • Chef Heo prepares a SushiSan creation.
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SushiSan is similar to other Kaiten-style sushi diners, in that customers can choose variously priced dishes from a conveyor belt that winds throughout the restaurant. SushiSan, however, increases the customer’s selections by providing not one, but two conveyor belts, each loaded with an assortment of dishes.

“We have two layers of conveyor belts that go in different (opposite) directions, so people can have more choices,” Kim explains.

Another unique feature of SushiSan is its self-serve hot water faucets. Instead of waiting for refills of tea, this “DIY” feature was implemented to increase customer satisfaction. Below the two conveyor belts carrying food dishes is another belt, providing customers with tea bags and empty cups.

“The water faucet is for hot tea,” Kim says, gesturing to the innovative feature. “You grab the cup and put it under the faucet and the hot water just goes in, then you simply put in the tea bags.”

In addition to these restaurant features, SushiSan is distinctive because of its eclectic menu, according to Kim.

“Our resources make SushiSan different from other restaurants,” Kim says. “I wanted to provide my customers with a high quality of the fish at a reasonable price. We create a lot of different types of menu dishes using really good resources. We try to concentrate on creating more variety on our menu.”

Some of SushiSan’s most popular menu items include the Beef Tataki ($3.20) and Maguro Tataki ($3.20). While the Beef Tataki features rice, sliced onions and a sliced rare beef that is torched before serving, the Maguro Tataki is similar except it includes a sliced tuna that also is torched before serving. The Kappa Spicy Tuna ($2.20) is another highly requested dish, according to Kim.

“The Kappa Spicy Tuna has spicy tuna and rice surrounded not by nori, but by cucumbers,” Kim says. “People think that’s really interesting; a lot of people have tasted it and really love it.”

Another customer favorite is the Kim Chee Gunkan ($2.80) — lightly fried and seasoned kim chee as a topping on rice and nori — the most recent addition to the restaurant’s menu. However, one of SushiSan’s signature dishes is its Combination (Hot) Donburi ($5.80).

“This donburi is a hot stone bowl dish,” Kim says. “It comes with buttered and seasoned rice at the bottom. Unagi, Maguro, Salmon, Ika, Ebi, Ikura and Tobiko are toppings on the rice. I think that one is very popular; we have a good reputation for that dish.”

The variety of dishes on SushiSan’s menu range from $1.50 (Brown Plate) to $4.80 (Black Plate), with an assortment of donburi, temaki and side dish options as well. The average price range per customer would be $12 to $13, according to Kim.

When asked about upcoming changes for SushiSan, Kim is quick to answer in terms of expanding the restaurant’s menu.

“I’m mostly trying to focus on developing my menu,” he says. “I want to put more variety of foods using different resources (on the menu). We also have a takeout menu we are developing, too … I’m just trying to make more choices for my customers.”

For Kim, seeing customers — especially families with children — enjoying their food truly “wraps up” his vision for the restaurant.

“I want my restaurant to have a comfortable atmosphere so anyone can come in,” Kim says. “I want to see more families have a great time together. I love to see kids eating and families seeing their kids enjoying it (the food). In starting my own business, that’s the whole point seeing my customers happy.”


  • Where
    • 1409 Kapiolani Boulevard
    • Honolulu, HI 96814
  • Call
    • (808) 944-0670
  • Hours
    • Open daily
    • 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

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