Poke bowls, a.k.a. “the new sushi,” are becoming increasingly popular in our area. Carson City recently gained its very first poke bar, and a friend I work with had never been to one. It was high time to check out Poke Doke.
As with most poke bars, you first choose your portion size and base ingredient. Here the choice was white or brown rice, mixed greens, corn tortilla chips or a mix of any two. At most places, the chips option is wonton or seaweed crisps, so the corn chips were a surprise. My friend chose a regular bowl with brown rice and three scoops of protein ($10.95), while I decided on a large, five-scoop bowl ($13.95) with greens.
Add-ons are next. In this case, a choice of kimchi, cucumber, white onion, imitation crab or all of the above. We both added krab, then cucumber for her, and kimchi for me. They definitely don’t skimp on stuff; my two add-ons filled at least a third of the bowl. For proteins, we both got scallop, shrimp and octopus, and I added salmon and yellowtail from a list that also included tuna, spicy tuna and tofu.
Poke sauce—a mix of shoyu, sesame oil, lemon juice and seasoning—was available mild, spicy or fiery. It was mild for her, spicy for me, and we both added “Japanese dressing,” a.k.a. kewpie mayo with spices. The mix of sauces was great, and my salad wasn’t overdressed. If you stopped there, you’d have a pretty decent bowl of food. But, there are toppings to consider.
As with add-ons, you can select as many toppings as you wish, which is definitely a large part of the appeal. Here the list includes seaweed salad, pickled ginger, wasabi, jalapeno, scallion, edamame, corn, mango, pineapple, masago, seaweed flake, furikake, sesame oil, sesame seed, and both crispy garlic and onion. We both chose seaweed salad and ginger, and she added mango, corn and crispy onion. I included masago, seaweed flake, scallion, furikake and crispy garlic. Finally, the time for decisions was done, and we sat down to dig in.
My salad greens were just what I wanted. Though the flavor was good, my friend’s brown rice was a little inconsistent. Some grains were perfect, others hard or chewy. Then again, sometimes that’s just the nature of the grain.
The seaweed salad was a little stronger than I prefer—tasting mostly of toasted sesame oil—but my friend seemed to enjoy it. The shredded krab salad was the same stuff found at every sushi bar, and there was nearly as much of that as the other proteins in my bowl. The plentiful kimchi was very tart without much heat. I got tired of it pretty quickly.
The proteins all tasted very fresh, with the bite-sized scallop and octopus of particular note. My one quibble would be that while fin fish for poke bowls is traditionally cut into one-inch cubes (or a little smaller), this fish was diced into very small bits. Not a big deal if eaten with a fork, but a bit laborious using my preferred chopsticks. Overall, though, I was pretty happy with the quality and quantity served—and the friendly folks who served it up.