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Restaurants / Openings

Top Chef Brings Real Food Star Power to the Poke Trend

New Casual Restaurant to Debut with James Beard Cred

BY // 09.12.17

It looks like America’s obsession with poke won’t be slowing down anytime soon. The traditional Hawaiian raw fish bowl has been a white-hot trend for a while now, and a new poke spot in Dallas is sure to keep the momentum going.

James Beard Award-nominated chef Matt McCallister has been appointed culinary director of forthcoming seafood joint Malibu Poke in Turtle Creek Village. The restaurant, founded by Jon Alexis of TJ’s Seafood Market and Grill, is set to open this fall.

It’s a change of gears for McCallister, who is best known for the inventive New American Cuisine at his critically acclaimed restaurant FT33. McCallister shuttered his more casual, Southern-focused restaurant Filament earlier this summer due to slow business.

While poke is not exactly McCallister’s expertise, great ingredients are – and that can make all the difference.

“You have to start with the best ingredients,” McCallister says. “When Jon approached me this summer, I had eaten poke around town and definitely saw the opportunity for improvement. Jon and I are committed to creating a ‘better bowl.’”

The culinary director plans to source fresh fruits, herbs and veggies from local farms whenever possible to match the caliber of the TJ’s-quality seafood.

“Even though Malibu is a quick serve concept, we will offer expertly sourced and handled fresh seafood,” Alexis says. “Our emphasis is on freshness, nutrition and sustainability.”

The Cali-inspired casual restaurant will have options for the gluten-free and vegan sets, and a beverage program with kombucha, fresh juices, wine on tap, and Texas and California beers.

Malibu Poke’s menu will feature classic takes on the trendy tropical dish, as well as some unique flavors from McCallister. He has been working on flavors like smoked bonito aioli, yellow curry, black garlic “mayu” and sweet & spicy samba. 

The restaurant will also be equipped with tech-based ordering system to minimize wait times – because Poke Mania is here to stay.

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