Louisville Sushi Truck debuts this week with a little help from a friend
One of Louisville’s favorite food trucks is about to get a running mate of sorts. Pagva Victor, mastermind behind Traveling Kitchen, is nurturing the launch of Louisville Sushi Truck.
Victor’s longtime friends Bo Syren and Ogi Purevjav will be the co-owners and operators of the new truck, which makes its grand opening debut this Saturday at Apocalypse Brew Works in Clifton.
However, Louisville Sushi Truck actually hit the ground rolling early this week for a soft opening. I caught up with the shiny red truck and found a fairly basic and familiar sushi menu, featuring primarily sushi rolls or maki, plus nigiri and sashimi.
Fellow Insider Louisville writer David Serchuk and I each grabbed ourselves an Alaska roll for lunch on Monday, and we both found the fish and avocado inside to be fresh and tasty. The roll was tightly made, sliced into eight bite-size pieces, and made for a perfect lunch portion.
Perhaps best of all, the food was ready with uncommon speed. I was still paying for mine when Syren passed David’s roll out the window to him in a Styrofoam container with a napkin and disposable chopsticks.
Victor said Louisville Sushi Truck is based on West Coast sushi truck concepts that are doing well. He, Purevjav and Syren simply wanted to bring the concept to Louisville to see if the market was ready, noting that the idea is to counter the traditional sushi restaurant, which often means a lengthy sit-down meal.
“It’s pretty much based on a to-go sushi place,” he said. “Fast-food sushi. You don’t have to have a $100 meal – in Japan, you just grab a meal and eat.”
In other words, it doesn’t have to be like your parents’ visit to Benihana of Tokyo in the 1980s. It can just be lunch.
Victor said he grew up with Purevjav and Syren in Mongolia, and the success of Traveling Kitchen was at least in part the inspiration for Louisville Sushi Truck. They had worked in sushi restaurants around town previously, Victor said, so “they know what they’re doing.”
On Monday, a white board sign with a menu handwritten with a marker revealed nine basic rolls like the classic California, Yum Yum, spicy tuna and the like. These rolls ranged from 4$ to $6. The “Special Roll” menu featured rolls such as the Green Roll, with cream cheese, spicy crab and avocado with wasabi sauce. There was also a Dancing Eel roll, a tuna-topped Cardinal Roll and a traditional Rainbow Roll, which is a California roll topped with fresh sashimi. These rolls topped out at $9.
Meanwhile, sashimi was three pieces for $6 and nigiri came in $4 pairs. Seaweed salad and cucumber salad also are available. Everything is prepared to order right in front of you, so it isn’t like the stuff that sits around in gas stations and supermarkets for hours or longer in plastic containers.
Of course, not only does the food truck concept literally make the business more mobile – helping to sidestep the old “location, location, location” rule somewhat – it’s also a more economical venture.
“Money-wise, it’s easier to do than a restaurant,” Victor said.
And when it’s all said and done, differentiation offers a great opportunity for success. It’s Louisville’s first dedicated sushi truck. Victor, who came to America well over a decade ago, did the same with his Traveling Kitchen concept that features Korean-style street tacos.
“It’s the American dream, man,” he said. “That’s why we come here. The food truck is booming in America. It doesn’t have to be all hot dogs.”