You might not realize that the yellow stand-alone building along the train tracks on West River Street in Truckee holds the magic of one of my favorite foods: sushi.
I slipped into the small kitchen of Tahoe Private Chef and Cloud Sushi owner Josh Brown. He was prepping for his Wednesday sushi pop-up. On the prep table is a brightly colored array of salmon, ahi tuna, Hamachi and octopus sashimi placed in beautifully arranged to-go bento boxes.
There is no doubt Brown is a culinary artist. He has been rolling sushi for more than 15 years. His two sous chefs, JT Busby and Brian Robinson, were already at work slicing fish and rolling sushi for dinner pickup when I arrived.
“It’s all about the texture and fresh flavors. The rolls are meant to be taken home so nothing will end up soggy.” –Josh Brown
I met Brown for the first time and was excited to taste his creations. He poured me a bowl of his house-made miso soup prepared with two types of miso, brown butter, leeks and shitake or maitake mushrooms. I brought the bowl to my lips and took a sip. The miso was smooth and buttery, with a richness that was quite exceptional. Brown pointed out that the brown butter in the soup creates a unique flavor and he was right. It was one of the best miso soups I’ve tasted.
Brown sliced two types of tuna — Chutoro, a medium fatty tuna and Akami, a leaner tuna — and topped the fish with a Nikiri sauce, a dashi sweetened soy sauce. The fish was fresh, flavorful and exceptionally tender.
I asked Brown what some of his bestsellers are. He said the Cumulus Combo is top on the list. It’s an assortment of three rolls, which includes the Ebi Fry Roll made with panko-breaded shrimp, cucumber, avocado, sweet ginger teriyaki and yuzu-miso mayo; the Pot of Gold Roll, prepared with kanikama, cucumber and avocado inside and topped with tuna, Hamachi, salmon, tobiko and green onion; and the Tahoe Ten Roll, which includes tempura green bean and spicy salmon with sesame-ginger sauce.
Brown pulled out his filet knife and prepared another of his fan favorites, the Last Chair roll, made with panko shrimp, spicy tuna, salmon, tuna, torched chili mayo, crispy ancient grains, tobiko, green onion and sweet ginger teriyaki. I watched as he deftly sliced the fish, added the rice and shrimp onto the nori and rolled up the sushi. He topped the roll, pulled out a torch and lit the chili mayo. It was amazing.
“It’s all about the texture and fresh flavors. The rolls are meant to be taken home so nothing will end up soggy,” said Brown.
There are seven rolls on the menu along with sashimi plates, appetizers and sides. The rolls are made to order for lunch and dinner every Wednesday. Brown suggests ordering at least 45 minutes ahead of pickup time; orders can be made during the week leading up to Wednesday. | cloudsushitruckee.com