Poke is the New Sushi
Here’s the lowdown on poke--and the best places to eat it in L.A.
We love going out for sushi but we can’t stand to look at another tower of sashimi. That’s why we’re excited to see Hawaiian poke popping up everywhere, from trendy boîtes to fast casual joints. Here’s the scoop on eating this raw fish dish, including what to order around town.
What is poke exactly?
It’s a Hawaiian dish made of cubed raw fish--usually ahi--plus veggies, spices and maybe noodles. It’s often served as an app, but makes a great light entrée too.
What should I order?
Always inquire about what’s freshest. Newbies, ask for the simplest dish on the menu so you can add your own chili oil and soy to taste. Or opt for a layered bowl of your favorite healthy foods, like at Sweetfin Poke, where chef Dakota Weiss serves spicy yuzu salmon with kelp noodles, wasabi toasted coconut and crispy onions.
Sweetfin Poke, 829 Broadway, Santa Monica; 310-395-1097 or sweetfinpoke.com
Where can I get lots of choices?
We love the options at A-Frame, where Kogi empire head Roy Choi has entrusted exec chef Johnny Yoo to make weekly poke specials with international influences. Our favorites include the one flavored with curry (hello, India) and a Korean version mixed with a pungent fermented gochujang sauce.
A-Frame, 12565 Washington Blvd., Culver City; 310-398-7700 or aframela.com
What if I want to make up my own ingredients?
At The Big Daddy Shack in Venice Beach, you can choose vegetables like watermelon radish, red cabbage and baby bok choy to add to big bowls of poke with rice or udon noodles.
Big Daddy’s Poke Shack, 79 Windward Ave., Venice; 310-396-9780 or thebigdaddyshack.com
What if I want to take it out?
Got to love Mainland Poke Shop, where the super-fresh fish is readied for takeout in plastic to-go containers and there are exotic ingredients like octopus incorporated--all just like Hawaii.
Mainland Poke Shop, 8318½ W. Third St.; 323-452-9904 or mainlandpoke.com