The poke craze is here to stay. Blink twice and you might miss another shop popping up around the corner. Good thing for us fish lovers, there’s a lot of fresh seafood to be had in San Diego. With so much variety, I do not think I’ll ever get tired of it. San Diego Poke Company is a relatively new company which started out at farmer’s markets. They did so well they started a brick and mortar store a few months back. The owner, Yohei, came from a technical background but decided to shift gears and pursue something a little more fun.
Poke is pronounced many ways so here at San Diego Poke Company they make sure right off the bat you don’t make that mistake again.
They have a cool graphic up of popular items that go into a typical poke bowl. When I was a child I don’t remember eating a whole lot of poke even though my dad and his side of the family grew up in Hawaii. My dad has always favored meat over seafood. Once I got to high school I started to really appreciate fresh seafood and raw fish. Too bad those free family trips to Hawaii stopped right around that same time!
Much like Chipotle you can go down the line and make your own bowl. They also offer specials with pre-selected items for those of us who can’t make up their mind or simply trust them to know make the right decision.
Their seafood is sourced from Catalina Offshore Products like so many fine seafood establishments in San Diego.
And there are many different choices of seafood to choose from. They even have a tofu option for the non-seafood lovers out there.
Along with many other toppings to pile into your bowl.
Obviously the restaurant is fairly new, yet I still I appreciated how they kept everything clean. It not only makes for nicer pictures, but also lulls you into fierce anticipation. With bold contrasting colors, you salivate at the thought of sharp, beautifully balanced flavors.
The large bowl ($11.95) comes with five choices of seafood. Everything else is included and can pile on top, including the sauces. I wouldn’t say we got crazy with our custom bowl, but some of these toppings were definitely not traditional, starting with the flaming hot cheetos crumble. I do not regret this choice. We also had a mixture of brown and white rice, seaweed salad, edamame, fried onion for a little more texture, avocado, ginger, a seafood blend of tuna, salmon, albacore, spicy tuna, and shrimp, masago, and furikake. For our sauce we got the original sweet shoyu, which is a blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey and the Koko loko which contains sweet chili sauce, coconut milk, and citrus.
Surprisingly, everything tasted great together. I thought it would be a complete fail with so many toppings. The cheetos were a welcomed addition and might be a permanent fixture in future poke bowls. My only regret was to add five separate seafood options. Once the ingredients were mixed in, it really was hard to tell what was what. If we could do it over again we would get double orders of things and maybe get something else that was easily distinguishable from the rest.
They also made us a specialty taco set called “Taco ‘Bout it.” Now I’m not a huge fan of salmon but these were consumable in my book. Michael seemed to really enjoy them. I see a flaming hot cheetos trend forming here. There were a few toppings in here that aren’t listed on their website like green onions, masago, and pineapple. I would say as a whole, it was much more sweet than spicy.
On a warm sunny day these would be quite refreshing.
Yohei also brought us out a surprise I didn’t realize they served: a poke burger! I’m 90% sure he gave us the Oh No Burger. The Seoul Hott sauce is fairly mild and I enjoyed the different look and feel.
After you start eating it, it doesn’t look nearly as nice but the flavors are all there and we’re glad we got to try it.
One last item he brought out for us was the mochi Bubbies dessert. It originates from Hawaii. We selected the li hing mango and green tea flavors.
Li hing is somewhat of an acquired taste. In Hawaii you can find all sorts of things with the li hing powder on it. Some of my favorites are gummi bears, dried mango, and mui or dried plum. It can be quite sour and pungent, but the Bubbies li hing flavor was as laid back as Hawaii gets and is super subtle.
The green tea was great too. The exterior has a fun bounciness and is the perfect vessel for the distinct green tea flavor.
We loved trying out San Diego Poke Company and meeting Yohei. The restaurant is clean, the staff is nice, and they serve a fine poke centered menu. Personally, I go out of my way to eat poke when I see it on vacation. So to see it pop up in San Diego makes me a happy camper.
Disclaimer: We were invited to dine here free of charge, but the opinions stated are our own.
San Diego Poke Company
10387 Friars Rd
San Diego, CA 92120