Several weeks ago, I saw an emailed article about the rise of poke’ (or Hawaiian poke’) in Atlanta and have been wanting to give it a try. Last night, heading down Buford Highway I searched for a poke’ place, via Google maps, and found none. Undaunted, I determined to try it today, for lunch. Looking at options, there were two locations of Poke’ Bar (a chain based out of North Ridge, CA, with four locations in Atlanta – and another nine locations here in the works) near the office. The descriptions I had read said that it was like a Chipotle, with sushi as the protein. I explained that to my lunch-mate, who gave me a strange look. But when we walked in and up to the bar and told the young lady behind the counter that it was our first visit, she said, “well, it’s kind of like Chipotle, except with sushi.”
I felt slightly validated…
If you’re not familiar with Chipotle, it’s a build-your-own-meal concept, where you work your way down the counter, making choices from a series of categories. Here, you start with a base – white rice, brown rice, spring mix, kale noodle or nacho – and then add your choice of proteins (2, 3 or 4 scoops of tuna, salmon, tofu, spicy albacore tuna, scallop, shrimp or octopus – the number of scoops of proteins determine your cost). You then begin building layers of mix-ins (corn, jalapeno, edamame, cilantro, kale, cucumber, sweet onion, green onion and pineapple) then sauces (house dressing, ponzu, spicy mayo, sweet chili, wasabi mayo, wasabi shoyu, shoyu and gluten free soy sauce), then sides (cucumber salad, seaweed salad, and imitation crab) and finish with toppings (avocado, ginger, wasabi, masago, fish roe – specifically from a small salmon family member, the capelin, crispy onion, crispy garlic and mixed nuts).
Sounds simple, huh?
In we dove. I started with a base of brown rice, to which I had them add three scoops – tune, spicy albacore and salmon. To that I added, corn, edamame, pineapple, jalapeno, spicy mayo, seawood salad (which was kind of sweet). The person behind the counter assembles all of this for you – placing all of the ingredients after the base and proteins in a separate below and mixing them very well before topping your bowl with the mixture. They then added some chili and furikake flakes and I was ready to eat.
The tuna and salmon were cut into small cubes and were very good. The spicy albacore was more of a ground meat, as you can see in the picture. If I do say so myself, I put together a mighty tasty bowl, in spite of having no idea what I was doing. It was a unique lunch, but definitely one that I’ll try again.
This spoonback is for the Sandy Springs location.