After a trip to Portland turned us on to poke (say “pokey”), we’ve been gobbling up this fresh, savory raw fish salad as often as we can.
Poke is straightforward stuff: chopped raw fish (usually tuna), soy sauce, sea salt, and green onions. Served over spring vegetables and topped with everything from sliced cucumber to spiralized carrots, a massive bowl of poke weighs in at just one or two Weight Watchers points per serving. You don’t often get this much flavor (or this much food) for so few of those precious daily points.
So I’m happy to report that the Poke City has opened a Midtown location. To find it, you’ll have to drive over to Midtown Promenade, the shopping center on Monroe Drive that plays host to Trader Joe’s, Senior Frog’s Cantina, and Mellow Mushroom Pizza. (And Starbucks. And Richard’s Variety Store.) Poke City is tucked away behind the UPS Store, all but hidden in the shop formerly occupied by Kiri (the short-lived bimibap rice bowl restaurant).
Poke City is poked back behind the UPS Store. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it.
Placing an order can be a little bewildering at first, as you must choose a base (white rice, brown rice, or zero-point spring mix), a protein (tuna, albacore, salmon, shrimp, tofu, or baked chicken for the “I don’t eat raw meat” crowd, selecting one for a small, three for a medium, or five for a large), your pick of veggies (I like cucumbers and jalapeños), a sauce (go with “the original,” which is mostly soy), and optional additional toppings (crab meat, tempura crunchies, etc.). Stick with the process and ask lots of questions, especially when it comes to items and ingredients you don’t recognize (including, probably, hijiki and furikake). Our medium bowls (plenty of food, believe me) cost us about $12.00 each, plus tip.
See how happy poke makes the Monkey?
The quirky, friendly staff (including some of the best folks from Kiri) make everything easy and fun, and you can wash your healthy, filling bowl of poke down with everything from fountain drinks to kombucha (but we didn’t see beer or wine on offer as yet). The sterile, weird, “fake grass in silver boxes” aesthetic of Kiri has given way to a chilly, minimalist white and turquoise interior punctuated with basic but functional tables, and there’s still the odd, fenced-in patio space if you’re into that sort of thing.