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A&E >  Food

Sushi Track offers delectable treats on a conveyor belt

Sushi-go-round, conveyor belt sushi or kaiten-sushi, call it whatever you like – this fast-food-style sushi can be found at Sushi Track in Spokane.

Slide up to the counter or sit with friends at tables inside Sushi Track Teriyaki Grill, 7458 N. Division St., and a conveyor winding its way through the restaurant brings small plates of sushi and other Japanese dishes.

Diners can grab small plates of food as they pass. Color coding on the dishes tells customers how much they’ll pay – prices range from $1 to $5 – when the plates are counted and the bill is tallied.

Owner James Kim took over the former Tokyo Stop Teriyaki last year and recently closed it for a month and a half to install the sushi conveyor and give the menu a makeover. There’s still teriyaki on the menu, as well as katsu, yakisoba, stir-fries and fried rice.

It’s Kim’s first restaurant. He immigrated to Florida a decade ago from Korea, and moved to the Spokane area from Miami to be closer to family.

Kim hired sushi chefs from Miami and Southern California with 13 and 14 years’ experience, respectively. A third chef with 10 years’ experience works in the kitchen to make the hot dishes on the menu.

He and his chefs take turns driving to Seattle to buy fresh seafood for the restaurant, Kim says.

More than 15 different sushi rolls make an appearance on the conveyor, along with gyoza, tempura, seaweed salad and edamame.

Don’t see what you’d like? Ask a waitress or call up to the sushi chefs and they’ll send some along the track for you.

Sushi rolls, nigiri and sashimi can also be ordered off the menu. California rolls start at $4.50, shrimp tempura rolls are $5.95 and broiled eel rolls hit $9.95.

The house special rolls range in price from $7.50 to $16.95. Sushi and sashimi boat for two, served with soup and salad, is $24.90.

Dessert options include tempura ice cream for $3.90, tempura cheesecake with vanilla ice cream for $4.90, or mochi ice cream for $4.90.

Sushi Track is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 until 10 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 3 until 9 p.m. Takeout and catering are available.

Reach the restaurant at (509) 483-4000.

Taaj Indian Cuisine opens on Third Avenue

The chilies and lemon strung above the doorway at Taaj Indian Cuisine, 128 W. Third Ave., are meant to bring good luck.

Owner Gurmeet Gill smiles nonchalantly when asked about the drying produce just inside the doors of his new restaurant. Perhaps the Indian tradition will help at a location that has been home to three restaurants in three years.

Gill brings traditional food from his birthplace in the Punjab state in northwest India to Taaj. He moved to Spokane from Indiana to open the restaurant after hearing about the empty space from a friend who owns the Days Inn hotel next door.

Gill owned a Mexican restaurant in Indiana. He previously lived in England, where he met and married his wife.

“This food is what we cook at home,” he says. “We give the customers the same food we eat ourselves. That is the difference about my restaurant.”

The daily buffet ($9.99) offers 35 different dishes at a time and changes daily. During a recent visit, offerings included crispy vegetable pakora, tandoori chicken, chicken curry, saag paneer (spinach cooked with homemade cheese), chicken maxhani (tandoori chicken cooked in a tomato and butter sauce with crushed cashews), dal and keema mattar (spiced ground lamb cooked with peas, onions and tomato).

Mint yogurt raita, tamarind sauce, mango chutney and other traditional accompaniments are on the buffet, as well as items for a green salad. Dessert options include rice and mango puddings, gajer halwa (carrot cooked with milk, sugar and cardamom) and gulab jamun, balls of dough that are fried and drenched in sugar syrup.

Waitresses brought naan hot from the tandoor oven and delivered it to diners when it ran low on the buffet.

The menu also includes an extensive array of traditional dishes, including curry, vindaloo, korma, masala and biryani. Prices on entrees range from $8.95 for vegetarian dishes up to $13.95 for seafood specialties. Beer and wine are available and Gill hopes to get liquor license approval soon.

Taaj is open 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

You might think of Five Guys Burgers and Fries as President Barack Obama’s favorite place to splurge on a juicy burger, but he’s in good company.

The inside of the new restaurant, 2525 E. 29th Ave., is plastered with love for the joint from magazines and newspapers both big and tiny.

The Virginia-based chain of more than 550 restaurants in 35 states expects to add 200 more outlets this year, according to the Five Guys website. Spokane franchise owner William Sheffield, of Brunswick, Ga., says he hopes to open four more area locations.

For the uninitiated, Five Guys specializes in simple burgers made from fresh ground beef, hot dogs fried on the grill, and grilled cheese or veggie sandwiches.

Thick, seasoned fries are made from potatoes cut at the restaurant. A chalkboard lets diners know where the spuds were harvested.

Customers can help themselves to big open boxes of peanuts to shell and eat while they wait.

The burger or cheeseburger ($5.39/$5.99) is actually two patties (3.5 ounces precooked weight, according to the Five Guys spiel at the register) served with a choice of toppings. The “little burgers” carry a single patty ($3.79 for little hamburgers and $4.39 for little cheeseburgers).

Bacon burgers are $6.09, while bacon cheeseburgers are $6.49. Order a little bacon burger for $4.49 or a little bacon cheeseburger for $5.09.

Hot dogs range in price from $3.59 for a kosher-style dog on up to $4.89 for a bacon cheese dog.

Pick from a list of 15 free toppings, including mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, A1 sauce, barbecue sauce and hot sauce.

Customers can watch as their order runs past the red-shirted Five Guys employees who put the toppings on the proprietary bun, add the well-done (but juicy) burger patty and wrap it in foil.

The fries (oh, the fries) can be ordered with a Cajun-style seasoned salt ($2.59 for regular, which easily serves two people, $4.99 for large). Employees dumped in enough extra to ensure that there was no way to hide the grease-stained brown paper sack.

Need more details? Check out

Five Guys is open 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. seven days a week. The location is the former home of Pizza Hut in the Lincoln Heights business complex near Safeway at 29th Avenue and Southeast Boulevard.

Reach the restaurant at (509) 533-1005.

The Dish appears periodically in the Food section. Send news releases, tips and suggestions for restaurant items to Lorie Hutson at Call (509) 459-5446 or fax to (509) 459-5098.

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