I had been lamenting to a friend just a few days ago about how I longed for some good Hawaiian poke.
Save for a quick trip to Oahu this past Spring, I have been relatively poke-less since settling down in the Portland area. The popular Hawaiian dish was recently taking off in LA (this time last year) just as I was preparing to gather my stuff and move OUT of Los Angeles. Thus, no poke for me.
The first ever fancy pants poke shop, Poke Mon opened up this week in Portland!
Aside from a Japanese supermarket in Beaverton, I hadn’t found anywhere else in Portland to get this healthy, raw fish salad-type dish that I loved so much. I was excited to check it out. Minutes after my friend told me about the opening, I was THERE and apparently so was Pikachu…
…and everyone, and their momma too…
The vibe of this SE shop (located just down the street from Cartopia and Lardo on Hawthorne) reminds me of the fresh local poke places that have recently sprung up in the LA, OC and SF areas. Yay! Yum!
In Hawaii, it’s typical to get poke on the cheap at a local supermarket like Foodland, a convenience store, gas station or even liquor store. 5-6 bucks. It’s so quick and easy. A perfect snack, appetizer or meal.
On the mainland, since it’s still a “newish” trend and sometimes hard to find fresh (not frozen) local fish, I find it’s usually more expensive, but when you think about it, you’re paying for quality and convenience, so it’s always worth it.
The decor at Poke Mon is really pretty. Tiny, with a modern-sleek, airy interior. They have six signature bowls; Hawaiian Ahi, Spizy Yuzu Albacore, Garlic Salmon, Tofu, Octopus, and a version with creamy spicy Ahi Tuna.
White rice, brown rice or salad will be your base. You can also “build your own.” When it comes to poke, like pizza toppings, less is more. There is a good balance of ingredients here.
A selection of sake, and Japanese beers round out the offerings. It’s a basic menu.
But poke is meant to be uncomplicated.
I’ll be back again most likely when I’m in the mood for a quick and healthy lunch. Keep in mind, since they are the only Poke restaurant in Portland, and are super, duper new, there will likely be a long line. But when you’re a foodie in Portland, lines are to be expected.
If Squirtle likes it, so will you. You might even catch a Pokémon. You never know…