A close-up of the goodness
10387 Friars Road, San Diego
Poke, that raw fish salad associated with Hawaiian cuisine, has poked its way into the San Diego food scene recently. Some Whole Foods have bars dedicated to it, and there’s even an “I Love Poke Festival” taking place May 24 at the Bali Hai.
Restaurants are going whole hog for poke. Case in point, the San Diego Poke Company, which just opened a location in Grantville after a successful run in local farmers’ markets. The thing that I like about SDPC is that the money is spent on getting good-quality fish, not on the decor. Design-wise, it looks like a Japanese Subway but with excellent shrimp, scallops, salmon, and even seafood whose name does not begin with an S, such as octopus.
- Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
2230 Shelter Island Drive,
As with Subway, you get in line and pick a bowl or design your own. For instance, the Off the Hook is made with ahi tuna, serrano peppers, chili flakes, white onions, green onions, and crushed Hot Cheetos in a sriracha mayo. A large bowl ($11.95) has five scoops of fish. A smaller bowl ($9.95) has three. You start off with a choice of base: white rice, brown rice, greens, or chips. I chose half brown rice and half greens. That was a good call. The brown rice helped ensure that I felt full but without the food coma of all too much. I got octopus and shrimp along with the tuna. If you’re a vegan, you can substitute tofu cubes for the fish.
Like Subway, I could also top it off with a variety of goodies. Unlike Subway, these were actually good. I added things such as seaweed salad, tomatoes, fried onions, and edamame. The bowls come with a choice of sauce. I tried the Koko Loco, a coconut and sweet chili sauce that was interesting, especially when mixed with Seoul Hott, a Korean-inspired spicy bean paste.
My daughter added those things as well as avocado, cucumber, and pineapple to her bowl. She was very excited. For the record, she’s 13, so anything she’s excited about in my presence I take as a gift from God.
We also got four mini salmon tacos ($9.95). They were soaked in ponzu sauce, a sort-of citrus soy sauce, and topped with seaweed salad. Good appetizer, but not if you’re hungry, go for the large bowl.
SDPC has a variety of Hawaiian drinks, such as the Luau Punch, or a Passionfruit, Orange, and Guava blend, plus some Japanese drinks. These are sweet but add to the Hawaiian flavor in more ways than one.
For dessert, I recommend the passionfruit mochi, which is a rice-cake cookie with passionfruit sorbet inside. The Strawberry macaron ice cream sandwich was also refreshing.
San Diego Poke Company just opened, but the line was substantial. This could make for short-term challenges until the employees get into a routine but bodes well for long-term success.