It’s a Poke, Mon!

Peruvians have their ceviche, Japanese their sashimi. In Hawaii, the iconic raw fish dish is “poke” (pronounced PO-kay or PO-kee), which means “chunked.” Wildly popular in Los Angeles restaurants where light and healthy dishes are the norm, poke is also showing up on menus at restaurants in the Greater Naples area.

Paradise Wine’s Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl

Typically, sushi-grade tuna lies at the heart of the dish, a salad in its purest form. Sakura Hawaiian Grill’s version is classic: Asian marinated fish with onions, scallions, sesame, and ginger. But the fish is atypical—it uses bigeye tuna, rather than the more common yellowfin, or Hawaiian nairaga (aka striped marlin), an oilier fish. Chef Paul Chen also prepares poke on flatbread with Asian slaw and a drizzle of house cilantro-wasabi aioli.

Stir Crazy in Estero goes vertical with its presentation: stacked crispy wontons layered with tuna, red onion, avocado, sesame seeds, and ginger-lime and sriracha sauces. The new Catch 41 Bar & Grill also incorporates wonton chips to create poke nachos with grilled scallions, seaweed salad, wasabi, and spicy mayo.

Poke bowls, too, are all the rage, and Paradise Wine co-owner Leigh Benoliel, a California transplant, made it part of the restaurant’s new menus. Chef Julio Morejon features tuna, baby greens, house slaw, pickled veggies, and avocado nestled in brown rice with spicy mayo and crispy wontons. AZN Azian Cuizine adds textures and taste sensations to its bowl with tuna, cucumber, salmon, avocado, grilled pineapple, edamame, and a quail egg, served on a bed of sushi rice with avocado cream and garlic chili tamarind sauce.

 

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