If you like seafood and fiendishly follow dining trends, you already know about poke, the raw fish sensation from Hawaii. If you do not, then get ready for the invasion of the poke bar, which will hit Dallas hard in 2017, with a ferociousness the likes of which has not been seen since the FroYo Avalanche of 2010.
Poke (pronounced poh-kay) is a raw fish salad from Hawaii, like a rustic version of sashimi that's served in a bowl. Poke means chunk (and btw, no accent on the e). Poke has been a big trend in California and is spreading to other cities such as New York, Miami, and now Dallas.
Most of the places that are opening take the Hawaiian dish and give it a Chipotle spin, wherein diners make their own, starting with a bowl where they add their own ingredients from a self-serve cafeteria-style line. Making it even less Hawaiian, many incorporate toppings such as quinoa, zucchini noodles, and tomatoes.
Some places serve appetizers like edamame; some also have a companion beverage program.
A couple of poke bars have already opened, but at least a half dozen are in the works for early 2017. Here's the list:
Ahi Poke Bowl
Arlington poke place was an early entry, opening in April 2016 at 3701 Cooper St. Owner Khang Vo hails from Hawaii and comes by his poke knowledge first-hand. The restaurant does the usual bowl deal, with a variety of bases that include white rice, brown rice, salad, or even a rice-salad combo.
Poke hit Plano with this player, which opened in March at the intersection of Park and Preston roads, in the former How Do You Roll sushi spot. Its menu has many options, including a large selection of beverages, such as bubble tea, smoothies, iced coffee, ice cream, and green tea shaved ice.
Bowls and Tacos
While not a poke-only place, there'll nonetheless be poke on the menu at this new restaurant from the team behind Deep Ellum brewpub Braindead Brewing. It's going into the gorgeous vintage Gulf station at the corner of Canton and Commerce streets, and will open mid-spring.
Freshfin Poke Co.
This poke place will open in February in the former Zini’s Pizzeria space at 3611 Greenville Ave. Freshfin is the first Dallas concept from Joon Choe, a Culinary Institute of America grad and private chef who once worked at Jean Georges restaurant in New York.
Go Fish Poke
Poke place is opening in Preston Center in the former Project Pie space. The Neapolitan pizza trend of 2016 makes way for the poke trend of 2017. Owner Tony Lin says that it follows the model of Chipotle, where diners make their own bowls, starting with a base of salad or rice. Lin, who owns a Japanese restaurant in Rockwall, forecasts a January opening date.
Poke place is opening at 4103 Lemmon Ave., in a location that was previously home to a Yogurt Zone frozen yogurt place. Is there anything more symbolic? It'll open in mid-spring. In its favor, it's situated right next to a Starbucks.
Food stall at Carrollton's 99 Ranch Market is already open and was among the first poke places in DFW. Diners build bowls with greens or rice and choose form an assembly line of vegetables, sauces, and other garnishes.
Pok the Raw Bar
This poke place will open in the former Union Bear space in West Village. In addition to poke bowls and a large raw bar, Pok will also serve cutting-edge matcha drinks. It comes from SMU students Brandon Cohanim and Francois Reihani and chef Jimmy Park, formerly of Dallas’ Nobu.
New Japanese restaurant opening in Lakewood does not have the word "poke" in its name, but be not alarmed. There will be poke. Sasa Sushi is from restaurateur Dylan Choi, and is going into the old Jerry's Wood-Fired Dogs space, which closed in October. Sasa will serve sushi, sashimi, and poke. It's slated to open in January.