July 20, 2016 // Chicago· life
I love fish, I love sushi, I love raw fish, and I love trendy things, so I am very very excited that the poke (poh-key) craze has made its way from the West Coast to Chicago, finally. In fact, one week ago today, Aloha Poke Co. opened its second location in Lakeview…dangerously close to my apartment.
For those of you who don’t know, poke is a dish that originated in Hawaii, consisting of raw fish and toppings usually served as a salad and/or appetizer. It is also delicious. Kind of like sushi in a bowl, I guess?
Aloha Poke Co.’s first location is still going strong in the French Market, for West Loop dwellers and office workers willing to brave long lunch lines. The second location is right off the Belmont Red Line, and both serve up the same stuff. Aloha Poke takes a “Chipotle” approach to poke, or you can choose one of their creations. Otherwise, the steps to poke are simple:
- Choose your base: white rice, brown rice, mixed greens or a combination of the two
- Choose your poke: ahi tuna, salmon or tofu (naked or marinated)
- Top that sucker off with as much as you can: avocados, edamame, seaweed, tobiko, pineapple and more delicious sauces than you can shake a stick at. It’s like the Pinkberry of the poke world…there are no limits on the toppings! You want jalapeno and pineapple? You go for that jalapeno-pineapple combo. It’s like a little Mexican salsa kick in your Hawaiian dish. Man, your tastebuds must be so cultured.
Also, mixing the volcano (or spicy aioli) and samurai sauce together is the bomb dot com and I highly recommend it. Basically, just mix some samurai sauce in there.
While there isn’t much seating in the Lakeview location, the space is totally adorable and also slightly sassy. Think a vaguely-Hawaiian theme with a black, white and pops-of-pink color scheme featuring signs that talk about packing bowls and a poke explanation poster that ends with something along the lines of “need more info? Google it.” There are also succulents in spam cans, because fun fact: spam is basically the state food of Hawaii. I’m not even joking.
So if you see a ginger girl in the Lakeview Aloha Poke Co. location ordering some combination of naked ahi tuna and a bunch of toppings, it’s probably me. Say aloha!
Aloha Poke Co is located in The French Market at 131 North Clinton Street and in Lakeview at 843 West Belmont Street. Third location coming soon to The Loop!
Images: Eater Chicago