580 California Blvd,
San Luis Obispo, CA
It’s been quite a while since my last post. Life got very busy up in Portland, and now, a year later, I find myself back on the Central Coast of California. (There are worse places to end up.) A lot has changed, but I’m still a food-obsessed hedon. Enough about me, on to the FOOD.
It was kind of hard to believe that San Luis Obispo didn’t have a poke restaurant, until now. For those of you who don’t know, poke is a Hawaiian dish that is basically a raw fish salad. It is usually served as an appetizer, but as it gains popularity in the continental U.S., it’s easy to find entrée sized portions of this delicious stuff. When Poke Chef opened in SLO, I had to try it. The small eatery is located next to The Boba Stop on California Blvd, and if you ask me, boba tea and poke make a perfect combo.
The shop offers build-your-own poke bowls and sushi burritos, but there are a handful of Signature bowls that you can choose from as well. You choose your base of rice, salad, chips, or kale, then your proteins. Some options include Ahi tuna, Salmon, Scallops, and cooked shrimp. From there, you add veggie mix-ins, sauces, and toppings. (My favorite is the crispy garlic!)
I’ve been to Poke Chef twice already. The first visit, I decided to try a sushi burrito. I can’t remember exactly what I put in it, but I know it included marinated ahi, salmon, edamame, seaweed salad, and spicy mayo. It was delightful! For such an unassuming little shop, the fish is very fresh and flavorful, and the rest of the ingredients compliment the star of the dish expertly. The portion was huge, even at the “Junior” size. I had to take the second half home!
My second time at Poke Chef, I decided to try one of their Signature bowls. These come in the “Big” size by default, so be prepared to share or eat your weight in fish. (“Big” isn’t even the biggest size on the menu!) This is a great option if you’ve never had poke before and you’re feeling daunted by the menu options. The spicy tuna bowl came with ahi tuna, spicy mashed ahi, albacore, edamame, cucumber, green onion, seaweed salad, topped with spicy mayo and house ponzu sauce. I also added crispy garlic to my bowl, and chose a base of half brown rice and half salad. This was delicious! My only critique would be that I would have preferred just a bit more sauce on mine, especially the ponzu, which was sweet and rich. I think having the undressed greens underneath made it feel just a bit more dry than the sushi burrito.
The seaweed salad may just be my favorite thing on the menu. I would gladly order a pound of it and eat it throughout the week, if they offered such a thing. (please, offer such a thing!) It’s got such a lovely, sweet pickled flavor. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
I love this place. It’s a great, healthy option for pescatarians, and there are even some vegan options. (Think marinated tofu and shiitake mushrooms.) There are four sizes to choose from:
If you love poke, or if you’ve never tried poke and want to give it a shot, this is the place for you!