Poké, one of the most popular customizable dishes found nearly everywhere in metropolitan areas, has finally arrived in Great Neck. Mr. Poké, located at 27B Great Neck Rd., recently had its honorary ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 27, officially marking the plaza’s appreciation for this new eatery’s ambition to introduce something previously unknown on the peninsula to hungry residents.
A Hawaiian-inspired rice or noodle bowl served with choice of protein, sauces and vegetables, poké caters to the likings of any diner due to the dish’s customizable nature. In Hawaiian, poké translates to raw, fresh fish sliced into bite-size pieces. Given Great Neck’s high concentration of sushi eateries, management at Mr. Poké agreed that it was fitting to open in the area, saying that poké bowls are merely deconstructed sushi.
The restaurant is clean and bright, set up like a typical build-your-own salad place: Tables are lined up parallel to the counter; a beautiful poster entitled Anatomy of a Poké Bowl marks the beginning of the line; and proteins and vegetables are grouped together near their array of sauces, all beneath black signs displaying the menu. Staff members are quick to assemble the bowls, ensuring short wait times.
Although there are signature bowls, such as the Classic with tuna and mango or Sweet Chili Tofu for vegetarian and vegan diners, the build-your-own bowls allow for greater customization and come with a choice of two ($10.50) or three ($12.50) proteins. Diners start with a base of white or brown rice, mixed greens or cold soba noodles, then pick proteins: raw tuna, raw salmon, shrimp, tako (octopus), chicken or organic tofu.
With the foundation of the bowl chosen, guests then pick Mix-ins, which include diced mango, pineapple, sweet onion, edamame, cucumber, blanched kale, seaweed, jalapeño or cilantro. Next, the proteins and Mix-ins are covered in a choice of seven sauces, which include favorites like sriracha aioli, sesame shoyu and honey wasabi. After the bowl has been dressed, restaurant goers then select toppings, such as masago (fish eggs), crab salad, green onion, tamago (egg), shredded carrots or avocado ($1.50 extra). To add crunch to the bowl, diners can select wonton chips, crispy onion, tempura flakes or toasted coconut.
Only three side dishes are offered: kani (crab) salad, seaweed salad and miso soup ($2 to $3). Featured drinks include a mix of traditional American sodas and Asian and Hawaiian drinks, like Japanese Ramune and OiCha Green Tea.
My bowl consisted of a rice base with octopus and raw salmon, topped with all sorts of colorful vegetables and crab salad, along with a sesame shoyu sauce.
The salmon had a very fresh taste and was the perfect soft texture. The octopus was executed well and was chopped into small pieces. The crab salad added a nice creaminess to the dish and the shoyu sauce had an excellent soy taste that wasn’t overly salty. The crispy onion added much-needed crunch to the rice bowl.
The beauty of this type of eatery is that prices are reasonable enough for regulars to order
frequently without getting the same ingredients twice. Seafood lovers, vegetarians and health-conscious diners alike will benefit from a poké bowl filled with healthy, fresh, locally sourced ingredients, served in a lively, modern atmosphere.