Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

More than a late-night munchies spot

Veg-friendly student favorite good enough for all

A tasty and very cheesy chile relleno. Pokéz Mexican Restaurant.
A tasty and very cheesy chile relleno. Pokéz Mexican Restaurant.
Place

Pokéz Mexican Restaurant

947 E Street, San Diego

A skateboarding Aztec greets you at the door til 3am.

I'd actually never been to Pokéz, though I've heard about it repeatedly over the years. Everybody I know who went to college in this town seems to have fond memories of the "vegetarian Mexican eatery." Maybe I always got hung up on that word, vegetarian, and the fact I in no way need to venture downtown to find good Mexican.

While the latter holds true, now that I've had a chance to sit down and enjoy Pokéz, I realize it's not wholly vegetarian, it just skews that way by being lard-free. Which actually suits my frame of mind these days. I also really dig the interior – a cheap but (mostly) tasteful wood nailed to drywall construction decorated by skateboard art and a few more adventurous pieces, including the bizarre little plywood Aztec caricature that greets you within a door framed by hundreds of band, skate and clothing label stickers.

So yeah, some kind of collegiate welcome, backed up by a lengthy, varied and budget-friendly menu. I get why my State alum friends see it as hallowed ground. But I haven't aged out — I still love to pore over a healthy Mexican menu bolstered by a little friendly table service and complimentary basket of chips with salsa.

The green taco made me feel like I was getting revenge on Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.

I crunched away on those chips while it dawned on me there were actually plenty of beef, chicken and chorizo options to be had. But I wanted to cherish the place as a veggie destination, so I decided to start by trying one of Pokéz's "unusual usuals." The green taco ($4.25) is described as "slices of avocado and cucumber wrapped in a lettuce leaf." Pretty apt description, except they served mine with cabbage, which I actually considered an upgrade. Still, aside from these ingredients, there was nothing — no pico de gallo or any sort of dressing. I grabbed some tapatio and dug in to what amounted to a handheld naked salad. Truth is, I finished it in pieces, as I preferred each of the (potentially organic) ingredients individually more than as a team.

A memorble Pokéz dish, the mahi mahi taco. Pokéz Mexican Restaurant.

Okay, so skewing extreme vegan isn't my bag. Nevermind, because I also picked out a perennial favorite, the chile relleno. The cheesy pepper and cheesy ranchero sauce adorning it were each mild yet flavorful. Not the best I've had, but a welcome and messy upgrade from the too-clean veggies of the green taco. Given the kooky ambiance of the place, the $4.50 relleno would be enough to lure me anytime for a cheap meal among friends.

Then I tried the fish taco. Even for mahi mahi, I thought 5 bucks seemed like a sort of spendy taco for a place so otherwise affordable. But I was judging against little four-inch tortilla street tacos. This soft corn tortilla measured more like seven or eight, packed thick with grilled fish, pico and cabbage. The mahi was moist, well-cooked, somewhere between flaky and chewy, and super tasty. This was the clincher that would've kept barely-legal Ian coming back here, and will probably still keep old-man Ian revisiting downtown in years to come. The place may be an institution of San Diego youth, but by my esteem, locals of any size may enjoy this ride.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Is Midway the new Soccer City?

Fresh chapter unfolds in San Diego's well-lobbied Sports Arena muddle
A tasty and very cheesy chile relleno. Pokéz Mexican Restaurant.
A tasty and very cheesy chile relleno. Pokéz Mexican Restaurant.
Place

Pokéz Mexican Restaurant

947 E Street, San Diego

A skateboarding Aztec greets you at the door til 3am.

I'd actually never been to Pokéz, though I've heard about it repeatedly over the years. Everybody I know who went to college in this town seems to have fond memories of the "vegetarian Mexican eatery." Maybe I always got hung up on that word, vegetarian, and the fact I in no way need to venture downtown to find good Mexican.

While the latter holds true, now that I've had a chance to sit down and enjoy Pokéz, I realize it's not wholly vegetarian, it just skews that way by being lard-free. Which actually suits my frame of mind these days. I also really dig the interior – a cheap but (mostly) tasteful wood nailed to drywall construction decorated by skateboard art and a few more adventurous pieces, including the bizarre little plywood Aztec caricature that greets you within a door framed by hundreds of band, skate and clothing label stickers.

So yeah, some kind of collegiate welcome, backed up by a lengthy, varied and budget-friendly menu. I get why my State alum friends see it as hallowed ground. But I haven't aged out — I still love to pore over a healthy Mexican menu bolstered by a little friendly table service and complimentary basket of chips with salsa.

The green taco made me feel like I was getting revenge on Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.

I crunched away on those chips while it dawned on me there were actually plenty of beef, chicken and chorizo options to be had. But I wanted to cherish the place as a veggie destination, so I decided to start by trying one of Pokéz's "unusual usuals." The green taco ($4.25) is described as "slices of avocado and cucumber wrapped in a lettuce leaf." Pretty apt description, except they served mine with cabbage, which I actually considered an upgrade. Still, aside from these ingredients, there was nothing — no pico de gallo or any sort of dressing. I grabbed some tapatio and dug in to what amounted to a handheld naked salad. Truth is, I finished it in pieces, as I preferred each of the (potentially organic) ingredients individually more than as a team.

A memorble Pokéz dish, the mahi mahi taco. Pokéz Mexican Restaurant.

Okay, so skewing extreme vegan isn't my bag. Nevermind, because I also picked out a perennial favorite, the chile relleno. The cheesy pepper and cheesy ranchero sauce adorning it were each mild yet flavorful. Not the best I've had, but a welcome and messy upgrade from the too-clean veggies of the green taco. Given the kooky ambiance of the place, the $4.50 relleno would be enough to lure me anytime for a cheap meal among friends.

Then I tried the fish taco. Even for mahi mahi, I thought 5 bucks seemed like a sort of spendy taco for a place so otherwise affordable. But I was judging against little four-inch tortilla street tacos. This soft corn tortilla measured more like seven or eight, packed thick with grilled fish, pico and cabbage. The mahi was moist, well-cooked, somewhere between flaky and chewy, and super tasty. This was the clincher that would've kept barely-legal Ian coming back here, and will probably still keep old-man Ian revisiting downtown in years to come. The place may be an institution of San Diego youth, but by my esteem, locals of any size may enjoy this ride.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Unemployment leads to Ocean Beach baking

The bread man
Next Article

Liquor store bong rock

Sean Peck, Jessie Lark, Howlin’ Rain, The Greyboy Allstars, Art of Elan & Keir GoGwilt
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close