Poke-mania hasn’t hit Northern Virginia yet. It’s coming, I promise. Poke, the Hawaiian chopped fish dish that’s like chirashi piled with even more deliciousness, has obsessed healthy eaters across the country. When I was writing about food in Houston, the mania hit right around 2017 and hasn’t stopped yet, even now that there are a few poke places in every neighborhood in the city.
Perhaps my greatest gustatory challenge in NoVA so far has been the fact that there are only two links in the Pokeworks chain in the region and they’re both too far from me for delivery. I had mixed results with one poke purveyor I tried a few times, but last week, I finally found a place that hit the spot. Like my beloved Pokeworks, it’s a chain, too, but a smaller Virginia-based one. Poke Sushi Bowl only has one location in NoVA, in Sterling.
I like to make my own bowl rather than going with a prescribed combo. It’s fun to go down the line, Chipotle-style, and choose anything that captures my fancy. When it’s possible, I like to start with a base of half spring mix and half brown rice. The fact that I could do this at Poke Sushi Bowl was the first good sign. The next was that the ahi tuna was the color of ripe watermelon, some of the freshest I’ve seen just about anywhere. I also added yellowtail, which often garners an additional fee at poke eateries, but is included in the price at Sushi Poke Bowl.
Mix-ins include lots of veggies, but unlike other places, starches like soba and quinoa are also available. I really appreciated the nutty notes of the quinoa, especially as it soaked up the tangy Ponzu Citrus sauce. Another advantage: chunks of tempura crushed on top, along with macadamia nuts and my usual pickled ginger.
The result is a thoroughly satisfying poke bowl. One that, whether for takeout or delivery, I plan to make a staple. //21435 Epicerie Plaza #180, Sterling
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