(My Food Carts Portland article -- February 2012)
I ventured back to Sushi PDX in early February. My previous experience was average, but I felt it was my fault for not eating the sushi hand roll completely fresh out of the cart.
Toshi has been a sushi chef for over 20 years, and opened this cart last year. We talked for a bit about our trips to Japan (mine was over nine years ago for a study abroad). Toshi's from Japan, but has only been back twice in about 25 years. Guess he loves Portland a lot huh?
OK...let's look at the menu. DST roll? Huh? That doesn't stand for Daylight Savings Time, right?
Actually, it's a take on the ingredients in this inside-out sushi roll (rice and sesame seeds on the outside). A "double ST, meaning spicy tuna and shrimp tempura, with some crab salad in there as well." Six bucks.
Toshi had me at spicy tuna. What the...do these cart owners inherently know what I like? I don't think I have the words "I love spicy tuna" tattooed on my forehead, right? (checks mirror) OK, we're good.
Toshi showcased his sushi mastery, effortlessly frying the battered shrimp, adding the other fresh ingredients, and rolling it all up.
|Toshi rolling the sushi! Yeah I'm sneaky in taking this photo....|
|DST Roll with Green Tea|
|I love this picture of the DST Roll!|
I feel so accomplished as a photographer now....
"Oops. Sorry, sushi. Next stop, my belly!"
(Puts "CENSORED!!!!" sign up as sushi "screams" can be heard)
The sushi is satisfying, pleasing, gratifying, with a bit of happy panda dance thrown in. Did I leave out any superlatives?
I've seen sushi joints pack the rice on the roll like some impenetrable starchy barrier. Not here. The ratio of protein balances with the perfectly cooked rice. Add wasabi to the sushi for some sinus-clearing action. No no, I mean straight wasabi, not the brown mix you get when you dilute the horseradish in shoyu. If you like bitter, the accompanying side of pickled ginger is your new friend.
Toshi even gave me some green tea (on the house) while enjoying my sushi massacre. Such a cool dude; he didn't have to do it. I woulda driven from Salem anyway just to go food cart hopping. Green tea's one heck of a calming beverage. See, some people need a cigarette after a heart-racing, eye-popping encounter. I'll take the green tea instead, thanks.
Toshi told me his Crunchy Roll is also popular, with bits of fried tempura batter sprinkled on the outside. For the cold, rainy days, his udon noodle soups are the ideal antidote. Check Sushi PDX out, and let him know you read my write-ups on this blog and Food Carts Portland! 8.5/10