We Sushi, which claims to be the Bay Area's first sushi food truck, is opening a brick-and-mortar Japanese restaurant on Santa Cruz Avenue in downtown Menlo Park this fall.
Owner Thomas Wu snagged the lease at 605 Santa Cruz Ave. after Tokyo Subway closed in December. The Japanese restaurant had been a downtown staple for 30 years.
Wu said the new restaurant, Kyosho Japanese Restaurant, is a return to roots for him. Wu has been a sushi chef for more than a decade. Before starting his food truck, he worked in both fine-dining restaurants, including Ozumo in San Francisco, and more casual family style establishments. Kyosho will be somewhere in between: "a modern while local-friendly restaurant," Wu wrote in an email.
"One of the things I enjoy most, but couldn't find working in a truck, is the constant interaction and real face time with my customers," he added. "I love to be able to return to that experience when working behind a sushi bar."
Wu, who described himself as an entrepreneur at heart, opened We Sushi in 2011. The concept of eating sushi from a food truck was not new, he said, but he was the first to do it in the Bay Area. We Sushi is now a frequent presence at Bay Area food-truck gatherings like Off the Grid (including Palo Alto's on Monday nights) and Moveable Feast.
"Sushi experience should not be limited to a sushi bar or fancy restaurant," the truck's website reads. "It can be wherever you are -- around the corner of your office, your home, or your favorite park!"
The We Sushi food truck at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View. Photo courtesy Thomas Wu.
The We Sushi menu includes both traditional and more fusion-forward items. There are Bento boxes, a lightly fried spicy tuna roll and the "Lobster Crunch" (lobster salad wrapped in soy-paper with cucumber, avocado and a light wasabi dressing as well as sushi burritos.
We Sushi's fish is hand-selected from local and global markets every morning "to guarantee freshness and the best of the season," and the chefs use sustainable and organic ingredients as much as possible, according to the truck's website. All sauces are made in-house.
Kyosho won't be as casual as the truck, Wu said. In his years driving the food truck all around the Bay Area, he said he got to know many local markets and felt he fit in on the Peninsula the best.
And the meaning of the restaurant name? "Kyosho means artisan, one who has fine skills in his field of expertise," Wu said "That's what I am hoping to become."
Wu is aiming to open sometime this fall. Stay tuned for updates.