A lot of people around the nation are falling in love with Poké. Because of its success I decided to venture out and learn a bit more about the popular dish. So, what is Poké? Poké (Pronounced POH-keh) is a raw fish salad that is served as an appetizer and/or a main course. The definition of Poké means “to section” or “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian. To get my fill of Poké I visited Lark Street Poké Bar and sat down with the owner, Will Phan to learn a bit more about the dish and his establishment.
When I entered the establishment, I was greeted with a welcome and observed all the fresh ingredients behind the bar. Everything looked so vibrant and colorful. There were plenty of options to choose from to start building a fantastic Poké Bowl. At Lark Street Poké Bar there is actually a four-step process to build a custom Poké Bowl. Don’t panic, it’s not too involved and very simple. Also, the friendly staff can help point one in the right direction with decision-making. Will walked me through the steps of assembling a Poké Bowl from start to finish.
Step 1: One must pick a base for all ingredients to sit on. One can choose from white or brown rice, zoodles (Zuchinni noodles), mixed greens or even combine two bases.
Step 2: Add on the protein. I picked the Salmon, Ahi Tuna and Spicy Crab topped with the house soy marinade.
Step 3: Add on the sides such as avocado, edamame, cilantro etc. and top it off with a sauce. If one enjoys spicy, the Fire Sauce is a must try.
Step 4: Choose the crunchy toppings. They offer crispy garlic, crispy wontons, Hot Cheetos and more.
I now have an assembled Poké Bowl in hand and I’m ready to dig in! I took my first bite and was bombarded straight away with elements of sweet, spicy, and savory all at once. The textures are amazing because every bite is a little different. Each bite can be more or less crunchy, sweeter and spicier than the last. The fish tasted very fresh, buttery and rich. I learned that the fish is delivered 6 days a week and sourced from NYC, Boston and New Jersey. It’s great to know that what I am eating is truly fresh. There’s many options and combinations that one can try. Personally, I would find it difficult to get bored eating here. If one needs a treat that’s more ‘handheld’ then try the delicious 518 Sushi Burrito which has the fixings of a Poké Bowl but in a seaweed wrap. Lark Street Poké Bar also accommodates special dietary restrictions such as Vegan and Gluten Free. If one doesn’t like raw food they also have some cooked options to choose from such as Shrimp Tempura and Crab Mix. Note that there is no chicken or beef on premises. Will, the owner explained that he took a chance and opened a Poké Bar because he thinks that Albany and the Capital District needed a great place for Poké. He wanted to provide more food choices for a very diverse community.
My overall experience at Lark Street Poké Bar was wonderful and I’ll most certainly return. The atmosphere is very casual/laid back. There’s plenty of bar-style seating with a few tables inside and out. The ordering process is smooth, efficient and fast. Everyone should know that there’s specials offered daily, such as Taco Tuesday, Wine Down Wednesdays and more. If one doesn’t have time to dine-in there’s an option to order ahead of time online and they offer curb side pickup. Hurray for time savers! They are open Monday through Saturday. If one enjoys Sushi then Poké shouldn’t scare you off at all. If one is on the fence about trying raw fish, don’t be afraid to jump from it, broaden horizons and try something new. All of the great flavors and combinations await! Will and his friendly staff will take care of you I am certain.
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