Poke Guys

There is a food trend hitting Toronto and many other cities these days, Hawaiian poke. Having spent a good portion of my childhood in Hawaii (my mother was born and raised there) I suppose I find it surprising that it took so long for this delicious dish to make it to the mainland. In Hawaii, this started out as sashimi grade fish cut into bit sized cubes in very basic soy or ponzu based marinades. Almost like Hawaiian ceviche. Over the years, grocery stores began adding different marinades, then spices, then mayo, then veg, and then it simply escalated into what you see today, whole meals with fresh fish over rice and mixed with a multitude of ingredients. One of my favorite in Toronto is Poke Guys.

The PG bowl. Salmon in classic shoyu, masago, edamame, kimchi, corn, onions, jalapeno, nori and, black and white sesame seeds topped with the spicy aioli.

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The fish, as in all the bowls, is fresh and flavorful. The corn and edamame add a nice crunch (as does the crispy onions) and the kimchi adds some nice Korean flavors. The rice is also topped with furikake (a sesame, nori, sugar and salt mix). The topping sauce is up to the patron. I generally prefer spice, hence the spicy aioli which also add a nice creamy texture to the dish.

My go-to is the Cali bowl. Salmon and tuna in classic shoyu, crab meat slaw, masago, avocado, onions (fried, green and white), nori, jalapeno, black and white sesame seeds, and topped with the spicy aioli.

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I like the coolness and chewiness of the crab meat slaw, the creaminess of the avocado with the spice of the aioli and the crunchy jalapenos. You also get two types of fish which blends nicely with the textures and flavors of the additional toppings.

A newer addition to the menu is the Mauna Loa bowl (Volcano bowl). Spicy salmon, spicy seaweed salad, spicy cucumbers, edamame, masago, onions, jalapenos, tempura bits, sesame seeds, nori, and topped with wasabi mayo.

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The spicy seaweed salad has some nice heat and slimy crunch. The edamame and crunchy tempura bits add nice texture and the wasabi mayo cools the spice a little bit while adding a nice hit of wasabi. All the signature bowls are great. I tend to gravitate towards these three given the ingredient combinations but all are nice depending if you want something sweeter (like one with pineapple) or one without fish (shrimp or octopus poke bowls).

The purists can get poke alone, like you get in grocery stores in Hawaii. I go for the spicy tuna poke.

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They top it with masago and there are spicy cucumbers mixed in with the big chunks of tuna. They cut the fish cubes a little big for my liking, and big compared to Hawaii, but the flavor is a nice escape to my childhood and saves me the 10 hour flight…. Although the ten hour flight is worth it to eat the best poke in the world with the backdrop of one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

http://www.pokeguys.ca/

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~ by jlowjlow on May 27, 2017.

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