It's an impatient foodie's dream, your meal's ready before you even sit down. The latest addition to the Sawgrass Mills' mall grub scene, at Sushigami you'll never have to fill up on stale bread or tap your foot in hungry anticipation again.
Even though sushi isn't anything new, serving it on a 140-foot moving conveyor belt that can hold 200 dishes at a time, well that's probably something you haven't seen before.
Opened just three months ago, this sushi joint already feeds about 450 ravenous shoppers a day. After noting the sudden success of his first restaurant venture, owner Yoav Saffar already has global franchise aspirations. He plans to open four more by the end of next year in Aventura, Chicago, and two in New York City.
"This has been like a lab experiment," Saffar explains. "But in the future I see 500 locations and not just in America, in Canada, Mexico, and Europe too. This is just the first."
While it's an innovative concept, it's the quick quality of the fare orchestrated by executive chef Taek Lee that converts even the wariest of eaters into food court regulars. With a shining resume from Stephen Starr's Pod, a four-dollar sign Japanese restaurant in Philadelphia, Chef Lee crossed paths with Saffar when he was a student at the university across the street.
"I used to see Yoav come in and immediately tell the other cooks to start cooking his regular order," Lee remembers. "He didn't have to tell me, I already knew what he wanted."
Two years after Saffar graduated and moved to South Florida for a job in real-estate, he left it all to begin his dream in sushi but not without bringing his favorite chef-turned-friend Taek Lee with him.
"It's Chef Lee that brings the finesse of luxury to Sushigami," Saffar said. "We've been successful because we have him but don't charge the four-star restaurant price. He designed the whole menu."
Usually standing on the sidelines are confused shoppers, curious but unsure how the moving plates works. With plates color coordinated by price (ranging from $3 to $7), it can be a whirlwind. Once you sit down at the counter or one of the booths, simply pull off the dish you want when it passes by on the moving belt. If you want something on the menu that you can't see whizzing past, simply flag down a server and they'll have it prepared promptly. Once you've finished, your server will come over and add up your plates and you're gone. It's fast; blink and you'll miss it.
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