Select by:

Say Aloha to Poke-Poke

01.06.2017 by: Tom Harris
Share This Post:

There has been a bit of a poke-splosion in Austin recently, with at least three joints dedicated to or prominently featuring the Hawaiian specialty and with good reason. Poke strikes the perfect balance between hearty and refreshing, satisfying without stuffing.

The side entrance and seating area

Poke-Poke on South Congress is a California import. The restaurant’s website claims its original location in Venice Beach is “the first shop on the mainland to make poke bowls to order,” a venerable claim indeed.

A mural adorning Poke-Poke's interior

The Austin menu offers simple variations on the traditional preparation (called the “OG Poke Bowl” in Poke-Poke parlance, consisting of raw ahi with shoyu, sesame oil, scallions, Maui onions and sesame seeds), a few “signature” bowls including some vegetarian options, and "sweet" bowls featuring acai sorbet. During a recent visit, we opted for the Wasabi Poke Bowl, the JT’s Poke Bowl, and a straightforwardly-named Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad.

Caution: Wasabi Ahead

The Wasabi Poke Bowl, which features a liberal dose of the fiery root, is not for the faint-hearted. I kept reminding myself to exhale through the mouth. (Food science digression: The molecules that contribute to wasabi spiciness are lighter than the ones found in chiles, which is why they float into your sinuses. Exhaling through your nose while eating wasabi will wake you UP.) Nevertheless, for those addicted to heat such as myself, this option is the way to go.

A lil-sized JT's Poke Bowl

The JT’s Poke Bowl has some kick of its own, adding chili oil, jalapeños, Sriracha, sambal, and crushed red pepper to the OG preparation. Unlike the Wasabi Bowl, however, there is also soothing avocado in the mix, making for a more approachable dish for milder palates.

A light vegetable salad

The Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad was bright and summery, with the cucumber and sliced onions providing a pleasing crunch. Don’t be intimidated by those onions, by the way. They’re sweet and mild, with only a whisper of the bite you’d normally associate with them. Rice came with all of these dishes, but for those looking to cut back on carbs, you can sub extra fish for an additional $3.

Poke-Poke is open everyday for lunch, dinner and refreshing afternoon and evening snacks.

{Poke-Poke Official Website}

TAGS : South Congress , Poke-Poke - S. Congress