Moku Bar is one of Houston's many new poke eateries. (Courtesy photo)
Chopped tuna bowl at Seaside Poke (Photo by Kimberly Park)
The Wasabi Mami — boiled shrimp, wasabi cream, cucumbers, green onions, sesame seeds, masago, and furikake — at Ono Poke. (Photo courtesy Ono Poke Facebook Page)
People's Poke (Photo courtesy People's Poke Facebook Page)
Poke Bar is putting a twist on the classic poke bowl with raw fish nachos. (Photo courtesy Poke Bar's Facebook Page)
You can also snag a classic poke bowl at Poke Bar. (Photo courtesy Poke Bar's Facebook Page)
Your poke burrito awaits at Pokii Eatery. (Photo courtesy Pokii Eatery's Facebook Page via @fooodeelicious' Instagram account.)
While sushi was long Americans’ preferred pick for raw fish cravings, poke — its Hawaiian equivalent — is stepping into the culinary spotlight in a big way. The raw fish salad is ubiquitous in Hawaiian culture served everywhere from gas stations to grocery stores.
And now it’s become a mainstay on the mainland, permeating the United States restaurant scene. Houston’s no exception to the poke pull, gaining a burgeoning collection of poke spots within the past year.
For your ultimate poke pleasure, we’re diving into seven of Houston’s best poke restaurants. These hot spots tout everything from classic raw fish bowls to poke-packed burritos.
Moku Bar at Conservatory
Stationed in Downtown’s underground food hall Conservatory, Moku Bar replaced the venue’s ramen shop — Samurai Noodle — earlier this year.
The brainchild of Tuan Tran, who also owns the popular Casian King food truck, Moku aims to showcase a more whimsical take on the classic raw fish salad.
That means you’ll find poke bowls topped with everything from edible flowers and fried onions to Hot Cheetos and shrimp chips. Diners can also indulge in a broad selection of tempura. 1010 Prarie Street, mokubar.com.
Coined Houston’s very first poke restaurant, Ono Poke pioneered the city’s brick-and-mortar poke movement following a series of successful pop-ups. The eatery specializes in poke bowls, offering patrons a bevy of raw fish and topping combinations.
Our favorite: the spicy salmon bowl with a base of white rice, which is comprised of salmon, spicy mayo, spicy shoyu, cucumbers, sweet and green onions, and sesame seeds, then finished with a sprinkle of crushed Hot Cheetos. 607 Richmond Avenue, onopokehouston.com.
People’s Poke hasn’t secured a free-standing Houston restaurant just yet, but its vibrant poke bowls have already landed a legion of loyal fans with its series of pop-ups at West Alabama beer garden Axelrad.
With a nearly 20 locations across California, Georgia, and Arizona, Poke Bar showcases its diverse poke selections in Houston’s Memorial neighborhood, which marks its first-ever Texas location.
While the Houston poke restaurant offers a number of classic poke bowl combinations atop traditional bases like rice and mixed greens, diners can also experience Poke Bar’s raw fish salads in nacho form.
Does it get anymore Texan than poke nachos? 14555 Memorial Drive, ilovepokebar.com.
Rice Village gets its poke fix thanks to the newly opened Pokeology, where elevated raw fish bowls reign supreme. While the brand’s poke is popular with the West U crowd, the restaurant is setting itself apart with another raw fish craze — the sushi donut, a donut-shaped rice cake topped with raw fish and avocado strips.
Pair your poke or sushi donut with one of Pokeology’s classic cocktail selections. 5555 Morningside Drive, pokeology.com.
In a sea full of poke bowls, how do you differentiate your sea-centric offerings? With burritos, of course. Not only is Pokii Eatery offering its raw fish salad with rice or mixed greens, but raw fish devotees can also stuff their poke into a soy wrap burrito. 12153 Katy Freeway, pokiieatery.com.
Seaside Poke infiltrated Houston’s East Downtown sector last month with a diverse collection of inventive poke bowls. The new Houston poke restaurant sets itself apart with offbeat toppers such as fried shallots, torched crispy rice, truffles, puffed rice, and gochuchang.
Don’t leave without trying the kani bake — the star of which is the torched kani enhanced with charred crispy rice. 2118 Lamar Street, seasidepoke.com.