Alex Naung has spent the last 12 years rolling sushi—most recently in Hawaii—but he says he always wanted to provide quality sushi at affordable prices. When he opened his first food cart, Wasabi Sushi PDX at the Happy Valley Station pod, in November of 2015, he did just that: Classic rolls there cost between $5 and $7 each.
Now, 17 months after opening his first cart, Naung is preparing to open up his first brick and mortar at 980 SE Madison Street, just a block from the Hawthorn Bridge entrance.
In addition to his classic rolls, and some slightly more expensive signature rolls, Naung says he wanted to introduce new ways of eating sushi.
“I wanted to create something that you could eat while walking around rather than sitting down to a roll,” he says. Enter his “Sushi B-Rittos,” which are burrito-like sushi rolls squeezed into a crunchy tempura wrap.
At present, he offers 10 of them, including the “Wasabi Cheeto Dragon,” the spicy Cheeto-encrusted tempura shrimp-salmon-and avocado version he unveiled lat year at Portland’s Night Market.
Naung says that the Madison Street location of Wasabi Sushi will match the items on his other menus—he also runs carts on SE Division Street and at Cart Lab—but indicates that a few new items will be added, like a rice bowls inspired by his time working in kitchens in Hawaii.
Once he squares away his OLCC paperwork, Naung hopes to serve tap sake, as well as beer and wine.
His fingers are crossed for a mid-April opening.
Wasabi Sushi PDX: 980 SE Madison St.; Projected Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 4 to 10 p.m. on Sundays