Poke (pronounced as POH-KAY) is the latest food trend. It is originated from Hawaii. It is a bowl of cubed raw fish, typically tuna, marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil and onion.
Nowadays, poke goes way beyond the basic. There are tons of seafood to choose from, like salmon, shrimp, and even octopus. There are also many different sauces as well, like creamy mayo and spicy sauces. Topping choices are endless, like kimchi, seaweed, edamame, fruits, and nuts.
Californians love raw fish and sushi, so poke fits in perfectly and it has become the hottest thing to eat. There are shops popping up everywhere. I adore sushi, so I’m loving this poke explosion. One of the first poke stores that opens in Los Angeles is The Poke Shack (formerly Big Daddy’s Poke Shack). It has been opening its door in Venice Beach since 2014. Instead of serving marinated seafood, they let you pick your own sauce and toss it right in front of you.
Last weekend, Bryan and I went to the new location in Melrose. It is our first time at The Poke Shack. The ordering is very straight forward. You pick the size of your bowl and your choice of rice (white or brown). Then you choose the protein (tuna, salmon, shrimp or tofu) and your sauce (Sriracha aioli, house shoyu, wasabi shoyu, crunchy garlic). Sriracha aioli is like a spicy mayo sauce. If you like a creamy poke, definitely add a little bit of this. Shoyu is soy sauce. The guy who helped us said that crunchy garlic is the most popular sauce. Of course, we had to go for it. It is a soy sauce mixture with bits of crunchy garlic. Really good, especially for garlic lovers!
Now, you got the fish and the sauce. It is time for topping. There are so many choices. Kale, carrot, mango, pineapple, radish, macadamia nuts, masago (smelt eggs), cucumber, avocado, kimchi , and seaweed salad etc. It is a tough choice, but there must be something you love more. When you have all your toppings. Everything is transferred into a bowl. You can now pay and find a chair to sit down.
There are plenty of seats inside the restaurant. But head to the back, there is an outdoor patio. What a cute little place! Away from the noisy streets and cars, this patio is like a quick getaway. Quiet and peaceful. Perfect place to enjoy a meal.
Bryan’s bowl: Tuna, salmon, cucumber, carrot, onion and green onion with crunchy garlic sauce.
My bowl: Salmon, cucumber, watermelon radish, edamame, imitation crab meat, and green onion with crunchy garlic sauce.
Our bowls were beautifully layered. They were almost too pretty to eat. The fish was really fresh. They come in big 1-inch cubes, which I love. That way the fish doesn’t get overdressed and the flavors can come through. The sauce is savory with little crunch from the garlic. The fish and vegetables go well really together, and you can taste each individual ingredient. The rice was cooked just right with a little bounce. It was a light and satisfying bowl of goodness. Bryan and I both emptied our bowls.
Now, dessert! We were stuffed, but we couldn’t leave without eating something sweet. We got a small bowl. You have a choice to make the acai berries with mango juice, orange juice or apple juice. The manager suggested us to do it with mango. All acai bowls are topped with banana, berries, honey and granola. It was a bowl of heavenly ice cream, but healthier. It was cold and sweet. There was a nice crunch from the granola and the freshness from the fruit. We loved it so much and we wish we weren’t that full so we can have more. It was exactly the way I wanted to end the meal.
The Poke Shack was much more than we imagined. We love everything about it. The fresh coconut, Hawaiian Sun drinks, neon signs, the outdoor patio…. And of course, the food speaks for itself. Fresh and delicious! No doubt, we will be coming back very soon!
7257 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles CA
Check for other locations on their website.
Recommend: Poke bowl with crunchy garlic sauce & acai bowl with mango juice
Price: $11 – $20 per person
Lokness’ Rating: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars
*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a free meal from The Poke Shack for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*