Poke on point
Poke Noke2254 Fair Oaks Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95825
Reviewing restaurants can be tough on a critic’s body. Eating at the same restaurant repeatedly to get a core sample of not only the food, but also the service and ambiance, can take its toll. While some might think eating three burgers in a week is “living the life,” my digestive system would argue otherwise.
Then there are the restaurants that leave me feeling fresh and light after repeated visits, like I’ve just returned from a five-day juice cleanse on a tropical island. Poke Noke, which opened in July 2017 on Fair Oaks Boulevard near Howe Avenue, is one such restaurant. With fresh fare that leaves the diner feeling healthy, refreshed, and 100 percent satisfied, I can’t help but wonder if I’d live forever if I could eat there every day.
Poke Noke (pronounced “po-kay no-kay”) has all the standard staples you find in other poke places, plus a few cooked options. The Shredder Bowl ($12 for three scoops of fish, $15 for five) is a prime example of nutritious indulgence with generous portions of salmon, pineapple, jalapeño, edamame, cucumber, brown rice, and citrus ponzu sauce. The veggie bowl ($12) comes packed with tofu, wakame, brown rice, macadamia nuts, and a host of veggies to create an epic vegan option. (The accompanying shoyu sauce can be replaced with a gluten-free version—just ask.)
The cooked items on the menu include miso soup ($2), egg rolls ($5), and pot stickers ($5). A few more intriguing options are the Noke tacos ($13.50 for three)—crisp tortillas filled with marinated ahi tuna and house-made coleslaw, and the Noke fries ($6), standard French fries smothered with aioli and unagi sauce.
The pricing at Poke Noke is about average for Sacramento, and the generous portion sizes mean a large $15 bowl with five scoops of fish will easily feed two people to satisfaction. Still need a few more calories between the two of you? Add an a la cart Noke taco ($5) or a side of crispy garlic chicken ($6). Excluding tax and tip, that’s about $20 for an incredibly fresh, healthy, two-person dinner. Not bad.
If you happen to be in the neighborhood between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., stop in for a happy hour special that includes a free side with any beer or wine order. Pair that with the friendly young staff clad in yoga garb and a huge custom mural painted by local artist Maren Conrad, and you’ve got a chill afternoon stop that will take the edge off whatever long day may be having its way with you.
The poke trend is still having a minute, and for good reason: done well, poke leaves you feeling full without feeling gross. Poke Noke is one of the better places in Sacramento to exercise some healthy hedonism; feel free to stuff yourself silly.