Now open, The Poke Shop at 306 Water Street brings a refreshing new food experience to Gastown; Hawaiian Poke Bowls that can be customized any way you want. The concept has been brought to life by local restaurateur, Brian Leung, who has given us the ever popular, Teppan Kitchen.
“The concept for The Poke Shop was born when I was visiting Maui about three years ago. Trying much of the local food, I discovered that Poke is a staple food dish throughout Hawaii. Vancouver is a great market for Poke as many people here are quite conscious about eating well. For those short on time, especially during lunch, you can get a great big fresh healthy meal, pretty fast and totally made to order”.
Poke is a Hawaiian specialty that began with fishermen seasoning the cut-offs from their catch to serve as a snack. Poke simply means, “to cut into pieces”. Traditional poke seasonings have been heavily influenced by Japanese and other Asian cuisines.
Poke bowls typically feature seasoned sushi-grade Albacore Tuna, Scallop, Salmon and Unagi on top of rice and garnished with various ingredients like seaweed salad, green onions and sesame seeds.
“The idea is pretty simple. There is one fixed price per size and you can choose as many toppings as you like; as many as can fit in the bowl. You can create you own custom dish the way you want it”.
How it works is you start with choosing a base from Japonica White Rice, 12 Grain Organic Purple Rice, Organic Mix Greens & Baby Spinach or Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles). Then select as many toppings as the bowl can handle. There are almost 30 to choose from – Watermelon, Pomegranate, Pineapple, Strawberry, Mango, all sorts of veggies, Avocado, Poached Egg, Imitation Crab Meat, Tobiko, Wakame Seaweed Salad and many more. Then add a sauce or two – Signature, Horseradish Aioli, Sweet Chilli, BBQ Shoyu, Miso, Wasabi and Spicy. Bowls come in two sizes: REGULAR BOWL 12.95 and the SUPER LARGE BOWL 15.95. All Poke Bowls include 2 protein scoops & unlimited toppings.
The interior design of the shop mirrors the origin of the cuisine, with tattoo-like wall paintings of waves, frothy ocean spray and warm, sun soaked evening skies. There’s a grand communal dining table made of reclaimed stained wood with an aqueous like, ocean blue, meandering strip of glass running through the centre.
“We kept the space within a minimalistic industrial feel with lots of cool lighting and the artwork on the wall was done by a few local art students. The table in the front, certainly the centrepiece of the restaurant, was crafted by a local carpenter”.
Brian was intent on locating his new Poke concept shop in Gastown and particularly, on Water Street.
“It’s a high traffic area with lots of people always coming and going and there’s nothing like it in the neighbourhood. Poke is really popular in L.A, New York and Toronto. So Gastown seemed like the perfect place”.
The Poke Shop is located at 306 Water Street (down below street level) and is open every day from 11am – 7pm