– Sushi prepped and cut by ‘bots
– Sushi prepared “Chipotle-style”
Tucked into the streets of Downtown St. Petersburg, Rollbotto quietly opened in an area where handfuls of sushi restaurants have nightly gang wars and allegiances are sworn.
But Rollbotto is different than its predecessors– and I predict its unique concept will help it survive.
Forget the server or the ‘date night’ atmosphere. Forget tipping or feeling rushed to exit so the next table can be seated. You enter and march up to the counter where tiny menus are glued to the glass.
Step 1) Choose your roll style or bowl
Step 2) Choose your “protein”
Step 3) What are your add-ons? (choose two)
(or for the lazy, select some pre-designed specialty rolls)
It’s like going to Subway and watching my sub being passed from container to container. And yes– robots get into the mix. Bots prep the rice on the seaweed and slice the end result into perfect pieces. And did I mention the miso soup is by machine? (shudders)… but… the taste of it all… even the miso… WOW! I don’t think there was a taste difference between this and any other sushi restaurant. I didn’t see the seafood go into the containers, but it sure tasted fresh along with all the other ingredients. Add-ons weren’t overbearing and all flavors worked well together.
There’s still lots of improvements to be made in the non-food areas. Please add warmth to the almost pristine, surgical lab-restaurant appearance, increase preparation speed (people expect Subway/Chipotle speed now), and a few “hey! We’re over here!” ads wouldn’t hurt. (Ahem, coincidently I design media). But the (cute!) co-owner was wandering among the customers and seemed very enthusiastic about feedback and improvements.
As an independent lady, I get into MANY sushi moods but HATE being the sad loner in sit-down restaurants by myself… and I’d rather not suffer under those left-out, wannabe-sushi from supermarkets. Cost-wise, sushi rolls are near similar in price to other restaurants, but because of the great, casual sushi deli-ness, I’m sure it will soon become the gang leader in Downtown.