If you’ve been thinking that poke (pronounced poh-kay, rhymes with “OK”) might be having a moment in Northern Virginia, you’re absolutely correct.
In fact, across the U.S., this traditional Hawaiian bowl of cubed raw fish has gone from an obscure snack to a trendy, healthy meal — and now it’s about ready to explode into the mainstream. With NoVA’s affinity for worldly cuisine, it’s no wonder that national poke chains are targeting our region for growth and it’s also beginning to appear on an increasing number of restaurant menus.
Whether you have a profound love for poke or you haven’t heard of it until now, we have five locally owned and operated NoVA spots to try this delectable — and definitely distinctive — dish.
Co-owner Conrad Hise is a native of Oahu, Hawaii, so you know the poke you’ll get at Momo & Poke is as authentic Hawaiian as it can be given that his restaurant is nearly 5,000 miles from home. 8733 Cooper Rd., Alexandria
Happy Endings Hospitality, the team behind a handful of area restaurant concepts with an international flare, has been serving up poke with all the fixin’s in Vienna since 2016. 8032 Leesburg Pike, Vienna
While poke purists will tell you that making the dish with anything other than ahi tuna or octopus is, well, just not right, Poke It Up offers over a dozen options, including crab meat, squid salad, tofu, and eel. 4401 Fairfax Dr., Arlington
This Asian fusion restaurant bucks traditional by offering a variety of bases beyond rice, such as soba noodles and red cabbage. 14240-C Centreville Sq., Centreville
Its website says you can create your own poke bowl in over 550 million ways, so consider that a challenge happily accepted. Be sure to try one of PokeHub’s house-made sauces or consider combining a few to please your palate. 11990 Market St., Reston and 11060 Lee Hwy., Fairfax
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