Bringing to Manila its touchscreen menu, double deck conveyor belts, and funky trains delivering small plates of Japanese eats — Genki Sushi introduces a digital dining experience to customers. Eating sushi now is made extra fun!
While the metro has had some conveyor belt sushi restaurants already, Genki Sushi takes the rotating concept into higher heights — the dining experience is seamless and interactive, and begins once you arrive on your table and start using the tablet to order. The iPads in the new BGC branch have their iOrder System, and the iMenu welcomes diners to browse on their menu per category, and tap on desired items to fill up your train, which can fit up to three orders at a time. It is also on-demand: the sushi isn't sitting there on the conveyor belt–the train only gets loaded with your orders once you send them in to ensure freshness.
Their sushi train uses a Kousoku Express System: a double deck system to attend to orders of each guest swiftly. Genki Sushi's system is first of its kind in Manila and outside of Japan, and it does not run like the typical slow-moving conveyor sushi belts — it zips by and slows down when it reaches its destination (your table) and beeps to alert you it has arrived.
Once you alight the food (transfer the small plates on your table), you press a yellow button for the train to go back to its station — the kitchen. The repeated process of tapping to order, train zipping by, and you unloading to chomp the food with your chopsticks is really a lot of fun, like some foodie video game. You get to track the current orders you've already received through the tablet too, so you can see how much your bill is running, or what dishes you yet have to try.
To compliment your fun sushi experience, Genki Sushi has free green tea for you, done DIY style: a small bowl of green tea powder is found on every table, and you fill your cup with hot water using the faucet next to the train tracks. Two to three spoons of the powder is enough to stir in with the hot water and stir with chopsticks.
Start your Genki Sushi experience with affordable appetizer under P150: they have starters like Edamame (P80), Miso Soup (P180), Crab Salad (P120), and their popular Steamed Egg Custard (P120), a must-order in Japan before moving on to their sushi selections.
For a fast casual sushi restaurant, their sashimi line was quite a surprise, as our tiny plates of Yellow Tail Sashimi (P270) and Salmon Sashimi (P200) had great quality of fresh fish that come in thick slices, and were so succulent to dip lightly on their signature soy sauce before devouring.
Rice also comes in forms of savory bowls, aside from assorted types of sushi, at Genki Sushi. Another top seller in the stores overseas is the Chirashi Don (P420) which comes topped with assorted fish and seafood. Their Oyako Don (P220) is a good balance of savory and sweet, with chicken and egg topping a rice bowl that's coated with a lipsmacking broth.
The main event here, especially for first timers, is to fill yourself with as much sushi variations as possible, so it's best to come as a big group to share the little plates. Sushi orders come in pairs, except for the rolls that are served as three pieces per order. Hand Roll (or temaki/cone sushi) are available per piece. Sushi are priced P60, P80, P120, P150, and P200 per order, with a couple of more premium sushi (the Salmon Roe and Salmon Roe Handroll) going a little more pricey at P250 per plate.
The salty-sweet Lobster Salad Roll (P150) is a new item on the menu, while the addicting and crispy Spicy Salmon Roll (P150) is a top recommendation, the soft and spicy filling of the sushi contrasting the roll's toppings that provide a crispy texture.
For meatless options, the Black Sugar Fried Tofu Skin (P60) and Fried Tofu Skin (P60) are great inari sushi (tofu pouch filled with rice) choices. The two different beancurd sushi are good appetizers, with the darker colored sushi giving more sweetness than the golden colored one. From sushi rolls and inari, move on to gunkan, where the molds of rice are topped with assorted seafood and other ingredients, then held together by a wrapping of thin nori. The Spicy Salmon (P80) and Spicy Tuna (P80) satisfy with its moderate heat (there's always wasabi if you want it hotter), and the Lobster Salad (P120) is for sushi lovers who want theirs a little more sweeter with a coating of Japanese mayo.
Next, stuff your belly with nigiri–the simpler sushi without any wrappings, just rice molded into tiny ovals then topped with another ingredient, usually fresh fish or seafood. This type of sushi is a personal favorite, especially with raw fish without any sauces or added ingredients, like Genki Sushi's Horse Mackerel (P120) or aji, or Norwegian Fresh Salmon (P80), a best seller in Japan. The nigiri options with 'cooked' topping also pleases the palate, like Tempura Shrimp (P120) and Seared Crab Black Pepper (P120), while easy favorites upon first bite are the Shrimp Garlic Butter (P120), seared mildly and flavored with the winning combination of garlic and butter, and the excellent Scallop Pollock Roe (P200) served with a topping of roe, slightly torched, and lending a layer of warmth and saltiness that goes well with the slice of tender scallop.
If you still have some space after your sushi-fest, with tiny plates of flavor-filled Japanese treats zipping by your table, then end your meal with dessert. There is a handful of options to choose from, and one cannot go wrong with sealing it sweet with chocolate or ice cream: the Chocolate Mousse (P150) is compact and smooth and truly a delight for chocolate lovers as it does not scrimp on the flavor, while the Strawberry Ice Cream (P80) is just sweet and comforting as ice cream should be.
However, to really make your Genki Sushi experience delightfully Japanese, you should choose to end your meal the way you started: with some green tea. Green tea for dessert here does not disappoint; they currently offer two matcha sweets: Green Tea Ice Cream (P80) and a slice of Matcha Double Fromage (P140) cake. With flavors as vibrant as they are verdant, the ice cream is happiness in every spoonful, and the cake a joy to devour as it combines a velvety cheesecake layer with a smooth mousse bursting with green tea goodness.
Visit Genki Sushi at its Manila flagship branch at the 2nd level of the Bonifacio Stopover Pavilion, 31st St. cor. Rizal Drive, BGC. Open daily 11am to 10pm, call 624-2867 for reservations and inquiries. Like Genki Sushi on Facebook (/GenkiSushiPH) and follow on Instagram (@GenkiSushiPH)