Take a Bite: Sushi on rails at Waikele

May. 2, 2014 | 0 Comments

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Genki Sushi Waikele's new double-rail system officially debuts tomorrow. — Gary Hofheimer Photography

Genki Sushi Waikele’s new double-rail system officially debuts Friday. (Courtesy Gary Hofheimer Photography)

BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Genki Sushi has a long headstart over the Honolulu rail project. The first Genki Bullet Express system installed last July at the Ala Moana store was so popular, the company has now brought it to Waikele Center. The newly renovated restaurant will open its doors Friday.

Utilizing the latest Japan magnetic technology, the rail system allows diners to place their orders at a touch-screen panel, then have their meal arrive by mini Bullet Train, F-1 Race Cars, Surf Board, Space Shuttle, and more, sure to be popular with keiki.

Where the Ala Moana store has one rail system in place, the Waikele store, with seats for 98, will have three systems installed to deal with area traffic.

Oh, and Luddites need not worry. The conveyor belt system hasn’t gone away, and at peak meal times, when the sushi and other dishes are abundant and moving quickly, non-fussy eaters will find little reason to use the train.

The staff gathered for a blessing May 1. — Ritsuko Kukonu photo

The staff gathered for a blessing May 1. (Courtesy Ritsuko Kukonu)

But during slower times, when not as much food is placed on the line, the system allow you to quickly and easily place orders that are shuttled directly to you. Remove the plate and push a yellow button on the rail panel to send the cars back to the kitchen.

Certain menu items also give you access to a slot game in which you can win small prizes with a three-of-a-kind match.

During a private preview party Thursday, the system worked great. The only glitch was receiving a dish we didn’t order. We sent it straight back to the kitchen and watched as staffers in the kitchen conferred over what to do. They sent it straight back. We kept it on the second go ’round, but wondered how long this game would have continued before someone came out to talk to us.

Not that they are lacking for service. In spite of the technology, there was also an abundance of human help. I like that.

Touch the screen to order. It's as intuitive as using your tablet or phone. — Nadine Kam photo

Touch the screen to order. It’s as intuitive as using your tablet or phone. (Star-Advertiser photo by Nadine Kam)



Old school touch. There is plenty of staff to help school tech-challenged diners and offer service the old-fashioned way.

Old school touch. There is plenty of staff to help school tech-challenged diners and offer service the old-fashioned way. (Courtesy Ritsuko Kukonu)



One of the rail "cars" bearing seared garlic salmon. — Nadine Kam photo

One of the rail “cars” bearing seared garlic salmon. (Star-Advertiser photo by Nadine Kam)



Among dishes lifted off the old-fashioned conveyor belt were pumpkin tempura, hotate-topped shrimp tempura roll, and onion-topped salmon nigiri.

Among dishes lifted off the old-fashioned conveyor belt were pumpkin tempura, hotate-topped shrimp tempura roll, and onion-topped salmon nigiri. (Star-Advertiser photo by Nadine Kam)

The newly renovated Waikele Genki Sushi, at 94-799 Lumiaina St., opens Friday. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. Call (808) 678-3180.
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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instragram and Rebel Mouse.

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