I recently noticed an increase in the number of restaurants serving poke (pronounce "po-keh"), this raw fish salad that is served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. And Hoboken is not forgotten: few weeks ago, Makai Poke Co opened on Washington street, greeting customers with a cheerful "Aloha".
This is a casual place where you will order at the counter and chose between either pre-defined dishes like the "pele" I tried on my second visit, or you can build your own, an experience that is always fun, although overwhelming when you are not sure what to put in your salad...or your burrito (I am not sure I would try that one), feeling the pressure, especially if other customers are waiting behind you.
Here is how you build it:
- They have few choices for the base of your dish: white rice, brown rice, zucchini noodles, kale, Spring vegetables or quinoa, the zucchini being my favorite as I thought that the rice needed a bit more sauce and was on the heavier side (you can add soy sauce if you want). It all depends if you chose the bowl, the salad or the burrito.
- Then, you will pick your protein: shrimp, salmon, ahi tuna or tofu. For the fish, I have tried their marinated salmon and tuna as well as their spicy version, all being very good.
- Next is your vegetables and fruit like mango, jalapeño, guacamole, edamame, corn, etc..A good number of items for sure.
- You then add your sauce (I tried few of them, but admit that I forgot what was what...).
- Last are the toppings: sesame seeds, macadamia nuts, crispy onions, etc...
The first bowl I tried was composed of marinated salmon, marinated tuna, zucchini noodles and sushi rice (yes, both!), edamame, corn, mango and macadamia nuts.
The second time, I got the "pele" bowl, made with spicy tuna and spicy salmon, cucumber, edamame, jalapeño, pickled vegetables, corn, wasabi shoyu and sesame seeds. Another delicious dish, fortunately, the fish was not spicy (I cannot pick if I prefer the marinated or spicy version, both being very good). I should mentioned that the base was the zucchini noodles.
Both times, Jodi ordered a bowl with tofu and zucchini noodles, varying the ingredients.
I should mention the beverages: they have a good selection of Hawaiian drinks like the mango cream soda we tried the first time or the coffee with milk made with Kona Coffee.
I love Makai Poke Co: they definitely have their place in Hoboken, where delicious healthy places are not that common. The concept is good as you cannot be bored because you can compose a different salad with fresh ingredients each time you go there. I definitely recommend it!
Enjoy (I did)!
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Makai Poke Co - 521 Washington St, Hoboken, NJ 07030