Smoothie bowls and burrito bowls (especially the ones with cauliflower rice) have been an obsession for a while—thanks to the eat-everything-in-a-bowl trend that shows no signs of slowing down. But the hottest new menu item around? The poké bowl. With a new crop of restaurants bringing this traditional Hawaiian fish dish to the mainland, we’re officially in the midst of a poké boom.
Poké is like a sushi bowl: chunks of raw fish marinated in sauce (typically soy sauce and sesame oil) and topped with mix-ins like seaweed and veggies. It can be served over a base of rice or eaten on its own. And, just to set the record straight, it’s pronounced “poke-ay” (rhymes with “okay”).
“The first time I had it [in Hawaii], I loved it and I was surprised I hadn’t had it before or heard of it,” says Drew Crane, co-founder of Wisefish Poké in New York City, one of the newest restaurants dedicated to the raw fish salad from the Aloha State.
With its similarity to longtime fresh-fish faves like sashimi and ceviche (and with poké places popping up in Los Angeles last year), Crane expected to find the dish easily in New York City. When he couldn’t find it, he started experimenting at home and the idea for the Chelsea restaurant was born.
The beauty of poké? It’s totally customizable in a build-your-own-bowl way. “It’s a very personalized experience. Some people like a lot of sauce and some don’t. Some like it on a base and some don’t,” says Crane. “The one thing that ties it all together is the fresh, quality ingredients at the forefront of the dish.”
On Wisefish’s menu ($7.97-13.95), you’ll find traditional as well as unique sauces—like a spicy citrus shoyu (AKA Japanese-style soy sauce) and a house spicy mayo—and ingredients ranging from hijiki seaweed to water plum radish and sea beans—along with avocado, mango, and fresh ginger “mojo.”
And you can have your poké served over white or brown rice, or—how awesome is this—zoodles. At this rate, come 2017, it’ll be novel to eat from a plate.
Wisefish, 263 West 19th St., at Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10011, www.wisefishpoke.com
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