NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano had sushi, appetizers and desserts delivered to her via conveyor belt at the new Carle Place restaurant, Kura Revolving Sushi Bar.  Credit: Newsday/Drew Singh

It's still waiting for the robots, but Japan's kitschiest conveyor belt sushi chain officially opened its first New York store last weekend in Carle Place. And judging by the masses of people crowding Kura's front patio and spilling out into the shopping center, half of Long Island seems to already know.

The appeal is in the novelty: diners sit in private booths as sushi dishes weave through the dining room on a pair of conveyor belts. One belt churns out small plates of nigiri and rolls encased in plastic pods to keep them fresh. The other shoots out orders from the kitchen like a bullet train. If you don't pick up your sushi plate in a timely manner, it will start to angrily shake back and forth to get your attention.  

Wait times hovered around six hours Monday as customers clamored to speak to hosts who were forced to act more like security guards at a sporting event, fielding an endless supply of complaints. (You can't make a reservation here, but you can join the wait for a table virtually through the Kura Sushi app).

Inside, the kitchen seemed to have trouble keeping up as half of the plates shuttling around the dining room's intricate conveyor belt system were empty. 

But the clamor around this Tokyo-based concept is understandable, as it really is unique. The dining room at this rapidly expanding chain looks and sounds like a Japanese casino, for one, and then there's the whole animé theme. And prizes. (Eventually there will be robot servers too, but those haven't arrived yet.)  

Contact with human servers is minimized.  Most interactions are done through a screen at each table that displays all the menu items and shows occasional videos of Kura's animé mascot, Mutenmaru, a cartoon warrior that always seems to be throwing a Pokemon ball around. On this occasion, he is stranded on a rocket ship, and the only way to save him is by eating more sushi and inserting the plates in the little slots at each table.

The garlic skipjack tuna is a new menu item at...

The garlic skipjack tuna is a new menu item at Kura Revolving Sushi Bar in Carle Place. Credit: Newsday/Andi Berlin

That's an easy task, because you're probably pretty hungry. Discerning diners will be happiest if they hold back from plucking any plate passing by and order dishes from the kitchen instead. (If you're a purist looking for superior quality fish, Kura is not your spot.)  My favorite item, the toro, or fatty tuna belly, was pleasingly soft ... even though the $3.75 plate came with just one piece rather than two. Also seek out the beef udon soup from the kitchen, with its delicate shreds of beef that cook in the faintly sweet broth. It'll definitely be a craving. 

A bowl of beef udon soup at Kura Revolving Sushi...

A bowl of beef udon soup at Kura Revolving Sushi Bar in Carle Place. Credit: Newsday/Andi Berlin

And if you do manage to get to 15 plates — why not — you'll be delighted when a quarter machine above your table makes some beeps and bops and spits out a plastic egg. Inside, it has some bubble stickers featuring panda bears from the "We Bare Bears" show, holding plates of sushi.

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, 47 Old Country Rd., Carle Place, 516-475-0007, kurasushi.com. Open 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

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