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Restaurants / Openings

Competitors Join Forces to Create a Houston Super Restaurant

New EaDo Mashup Makes Poke Fun

BY Laurann Claridge // 10.06.17

What happens when entrepreneurs plan to bring a nationally trending concept home to Houston, only to discover someone else is poised to do the same thing? If you’re Juan Cao, Alex Boquiren, Vu Bui, and Kristy Nguyen, you join forces.

The four founders of two separate poke concepts came together to launch Seaside Poke, a fast-casual joint now open on Lamar Street in EaDo, as it’s known by Houstonians who venture to this fast-developing area for a concert or soccer game. The popular food truck turned brick-and-mortar restaurant was inspired by the age-old Hawaiian dish poke.

But here, the poke resembles a deconstructed sushi roll served in a bowl with Asian influences culled from the owners’ Houston upbringings, which range from Filipino to Cambodian to Vietnamese-American. They enlisted chefs Tai Nguyen and Vuthy Srey — who list MF Sushi, Fish & Knife, and Uchi on their collective resumes — to create seven signature poke bowls.

You can also make your own at Seaside Poke, choosing from locally farmed vegetables, sauces, oils, and sushi-grade raw cubed fish. We tried (and loved) Seaside’s signature spicy tuna aioli, made with garlic mayo and house-made oil (this one, Thai chili), cubes of raw tuna, crispy shallots, and fresh cucumbers over seasoned sushi rice. The salmon ponzu is a more delicate mélange of orange segments, edamame, garlic, and drops of lemon oil.

Each bowl, whether it’s a signature menu item or your own creation, is $10 for three scoops of protein, $13 for five scoops.

Dessert is a playful take on Rice Krispies treats: little bags filled with cubes of the retro crispy rice bar, tinged with faraway flavors such as pandan (the Southeast Asian leaf that tastes like a cross between vanilla and coconut) and ube (a yam from the Philippines).

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