Philadelphia: The Land of Pretzels-And Now Poke

Published on : Tuesday, November 15, 2016

unnamed-171The Hawaiian poké craze has hit Philly in a major way, and no wonder: Raw fish over rice with vegetables, sauce and assorted fun toppings makes for a healthy and satisfying meal.



While Japanese sashimi and Italian crudo continue to be widely popular, restaurant goers are also enthusiastically embracing fresh seafood in many new (to the region) ways, whether it’s a traditional dish of Philippino kinilaw or a completely unorthodox Mexican-Japanese mashup tuna taco.
Here are just some of the delicious ways to experience uncooked fish in Philly:
Bubble tea meets sushi at the aptly named Bubblefish. The Chinatown eatery frequently offers poké as a special to be drizzled with either honey wasabi mayonnaise or spicy sauce. 909 Arch Street, (267) 930-7634,
Hawaiian albacore gets the poké treatment at stylish pan-Asian restaurant CoZara. The embellishments include cucumber, mango, jalapeño relish and spicy miso. 3200 Chestnut Street, (267) 233-7488,
The eclectic menu at Manayunk’s Maya J trots around the globe and includes a stop in Hawaii. The kitchen turns out tuna poké with avocado, lime, chili and cashews. 4371 Main Street, (267) 297-8961,
Betting on poké as the next fast-casual trend, Chinatown’s Oishii Poké goes all in. Customers can choose from a list of preconfigured combos (The Oishii Ahi includes tuna, romaine, honey wasabi and tobiko, while the Ebi Crunch includes shrimp tempura, crabmeat and edamame), or build their own bowl. 938 Arch Street, (267) 909-8358,
Whether it’s Ahi on Fire (tuna, scallion, chili and jalapeño) or the Sweet and Spicy Trio (tuna, salmon and octopus with ginger, mango and wasabi cream), Poké Bowl offers a dish for every palate. The make-your-own options include an array of proteins, toppings and dressings. 958 N. 2nd Street, (267) 319-9943
The poké trend extends into the suburbs with Poké Ono. The Ardmore-based purveyor emphasizes mixing and matching, but also serves a few signature versions, including a tofu bowl with Korean sauce and a fish bowl with fresh tortilla chips. 59 W. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, (484) 413-2058,
Typically stationed at Headhouse Farmers Market on Sundays and other locations by demand, Poi Dog Snack Shop celebrates all things Hawaiian. A customer favorite: The tofu poké with ogo, sesame and green onion. Locations vary,
Sushi Burritos, Tacos & Other Hybrids:
At the heart of Aqimero, Richard Sandoval’s swanky restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia lies a raw bar, replete with a ceviche selection. Instead of hewing to Latin tradition, however, he dresses his salmon and tuna with Asian flavors like sesame and ponzu. 10 Avenue of the Arts, (215) 523-8200,
The originator of the sushi burrito, Hai Street Kitchen encases raw fish (or other proteins) in nori with rice, zingy sauce and crisp veggies. The fast-growing chain proves that the time for this inventive creation is now. 1625 Chestnut Street, (215) 234-3000; 32 S. 18th Street, (215) 964-9465; 125 S. 40th Street, (215) 349-9482; 160 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia, (610) 290-8576,
Raw fish lovers head straight to a trusted seafood source for an Asian-Mexican mashup. Ippolito’s Seafoodin Passyunk Square conjures a sashimi tuna taco with chipotle mayo. 1300 Dickinson Street, (215) 389-8906,
Sushi meets tortillas at Midtown Village’s Lolita. The tuna tostaditos combine raw fish, crispy shallots, house ponzu sauce and chipotle mayonnaise. 106 S. 13th Street, (215) 546-7100,
One of the city’s finest sushi bars, Morimoto slices and dices sashimi in innumerable ways. The long-running house specialty of tuna “pizza” on a crisp tortilla with anchovy aioli demonstrates the kitchen’s versatility with uncooked fish. 723 Chestnut Street, (215) 413-9070,
A small but charming sushi and sake bar, Old City’s Zento puts forth its own take on the tuna pizza. The resulting creation layers sliced tuna over seaweed salad with a drizzle of spicy mayo. 132 Chestnut Street,(215) 925-9998,
Tiradito & Kinilaw:
Fish lovers indulge in tiradito, the Peruvian variant of ceviche, at Alma de Cuba. Stephen Starr’s Latin American showstopper serves it with yellowtail fish, cut with apple and cucumber. 1623 Walnut Street, (215) 988-1799,
Filipino chef Lou Boquila uses his native cuisine as the inspirational starting point for dishes at Perla, his bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spot. This master’s spin on kinilaw incorporates cobia, cucumber, shishito pepper and pomelo fruit into the usual vinegar and coconut milk base. 1535 S. 11th Street, (267) 273-0008,
At Rarest, the raw items span raw milk cheeses to gravlax. A major highlight of the Washington Square restaurant, the arctic char tiradito reinvents the dish with leek vinaigrette, serrano chili, trout roe and crème fraiche. 834 Chestnut Street, (215) 305-8752,

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