Poking Fun at the Poke bar
By Julieta Hernandez
By: Julieta Hernandez Photos by: Rachel Benavides
Sushi fans have met their match. The poke bowl, sweeping across the Coastal Bend area, is surpassing our love of seaweed wrapped fish on rice. Last spring, Fnu Herman and his team brought flavors and blends all the way from Seattle, Washington in order to open Hawaii Poke on Saratoga.
“We’re trying in Corpus, because in Corpus they don’t have poke,” Herman explains.
Hawaii Poke offers build-your-own meals. You choose a base, a mix-in, protein, sauce or dressing, and toppings. I have to mention -- toppings are unlimited! Any combination of ingredients will provide a new set of flavors to explore. No two bowls are exactly alike, and that’s what’s so fun about this place. While other restaurants have poke options on their menu, Hawaii Poke offers 100% creative freedom. Bring on the edible color wheel!
Following the wave of poke bars, plenty of restaurants in the Corpus Christi area have started offering poke as well. But according to Herman, Hawaii Poke’s taste is unique because of their superb sauces. It’s true! When it came time to select a sauce, I was tempted to get more than one.
Hawaiians enjoy their poke with fresh, raw fish; that’s why Hawaii Poke offers a wide selection of cut fish including ahi, scallops, salmon, and tuna (my favorite). If you’re not too keen on trying raw fish, some of Hawaii Poke’s cooked options included shrimp, grilled chicken, and beef tataki. However, if you’re really feeling adventurous, try the octopus (also my favorite).
“Basically, it’s all the same as the Hawaiian’s,” Herman says about the protein. “We just added the chicken and beef and the cooked shrimp.”
With indoor and outdoor seating, this compact poke bar provides a casual dining experience where you can sit by the beach (well, the huge beach photo they have on their wall) with friends. You can also pair your poke creation with a ramune soda or boba tea. Complimentary infused water is also available.