In the last decade, sushi has become a relatively common staple here in Mid-Western Columbus. In the search of something new, it’s time to switch things up a little. Introducing the next step in the evolution of sushi; or is it more of a deconstruction? Poké has been popular on the West Coast and among the pacific islands for ages, and now it’s touched down on the shores of the 614.
The 2 captains of this ship are Mico and Nile of Hai Poké. As the first to introduce this dish to a broader audience in Columbus, these guys are making a big splash. The duo started out in 2015 slinging Poké bowls out of various local joints (which they still do to this day). The concept started picking up so much momentum that now, just a short year later, they have their very own food-truck. We’ve also got the scoop that they’re looking to open a brick and mortar very soon right in the Short North. Dem boys on the come up!
So what exactly is poké?
This delicacy is comprised of a fish centerpiece (usually marinated tuna or salmon), rice, toppings and sauce. While the foundation is pretty standardized, the toppings and sauce are where each pokéman can distinguish themselves from the crowd. Hai Poké outfits their bowls with avocado, jalapeno pepper, cucumbers, seawood flakes, sesame seeds, scallions, aioli sauce and lime for garnish. They also provide a fried tempura chip on the side for some texture.
The fish is marinated very well (I wish there was more in each bowl, since I’m a voracious carnivore) and is just the right amount of savory. The toppings all work very well together, with the sesame seeds, scallions and seaweed flakes providing that distinctive Asian flavor. My only call-out is that I would like more rice vinegar on the rice, but that’s just my preference.
The bowls go for $8 – $15 depending on the protein and customization options you choose (such as double meat). Coupling a bowl with a nice brew from the Oddfellows (one of their pop-up spots) on the patio is quite a pleasure. Make sure that you bring some friends because poké is meant to be enjoyed together (gotta catch em all).