If you haven’t heard, poke, the traditional Hawaiian dish of marinated fish mixed with soy sauce, green onions, and macadamia nuts, is one of the country’s hottest food trends. Poke bars, where diners choose their protein and flavor options, have sprouted up all over California, and Texas appears to be the trend’s latest destination.
Describing the concept as “the first popular Hawaiian poke bowl take-out or dine-in restaurant in Texas,” Ahi Poke Bowl will open its doors in Arlington next month. Owner Khang Vo tells Eater that the concept is “similar to Chipotle,” meaning that diners can build their own poke bowls from the ground up.
To do that, you'll first select a base for your bowl, like brown rice or salad. Then, a protein (think Hawaiian-marinated ahi tuna or fresh salmon) and sauce (traditional ponzu, shoyu, or spicy mayo). Finally, you can top off your bowl with a variety of additions, like avocado, crab meat, seaweed, or cucumber.
Perhaps surprisingly, the fast-casual nature of a place like Ahi Poke Bowl is entirely in line with the way that Hawaiians consume poke. “While poke is available on many restaurant menus in Hawaii, locals tend to get poke from more casual, neighborhood carry-out eateries, and even grocery stores or general stores,” writes Eater.com’s Hillary Dixler. “One of the most popular poke vendors in Hawaii is the supermarket chain Foodland.”
Ahi Poke Bowl will open at 3701 S. Cooper in Arlington on April 10, and will serve lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. With any luck, the poke bowl trend will pick up steam and Dallas-Fort Worth will soon see plenty more of these fresh, fast-casual concepts.