Where To Get Your Poke On: Our Five Picks For The Best Poke Bowls Downtown

Chances are you’re definitely grabbing a poke bowl for lunch (or brunch) sometime this summer. The cubed soy sauce marinated raw fish (usually tuna, salmon or octopus) ladled over rice and garnished with green onions, chili peppers, and seaweed has been a staple of Hawaiian cuisine for centuries. In the past year, it’s become apart of the latest ‘must-have’ food craze in New York City. Poke (pronounced poh-kay) is healthy, tasty and doesn’t take long to make, hence the perfect go-to dish for the fast-paced life of an instantly gratified New Yorker. There are tons of new poke dedicated restaurants scattered around downtown Manhattan, we’ve rounded up our five favorite spots (and yes, even a vegetarian one too!).

Chikarash

This tiny Chinatown spot is better suited for takeout, but the sushi chefs behind the counter and focus on fresh fish make it a stand-out pick. Instead of a DIY poke bowl, the concise menu features 13 staple picks and one daily special with everything from Scottish salmon, to Bluefin tuna to fresh water eel blending together ingredients from Japanese chirashi bowls like daikon and furikake, and Chinese cuisine like Sichuan. Try the ever-so-popular Sichuan chili salmon bowl, and if you’re not a fan of fish, there’s a tasty tofu option too.

227 Canal St, New York; (646) 649-5965

Simple Authentic Food

Another delectable option for a take-out lunch, this Lower East Side restaurant has kitschy decor whose wall displays bare celebrity quotes, a cat from the cell-phone game Neko Astume and a killer menu that includes both cooked and raw poke bowls with octopus, lump crabmeat, and poached shrimp.

109 Eldridge St, New York; (646) 870-8292

The PokeSpot

This franchise counter serve eatery is like Chipotle, but for poke. Here you can DIY your own bowl with tuna, salmon, chicken or snow crab topped over rice, cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles—and if you really want to add a burrito flare to your bowl add some crab guacamole. You heard us correctly.

120 4th Ave, New York; (212) 933-0971

Seamore’s

Seamore’s is already known for their fresh (and usually local) seafood, but last summer they decided to hop on the latest food craze and open up a poke take-out window right beside their NoLita restaurant. Alongside the food, they serve a delicious coconut lemongrass ice cream. A slight twist – you can choose the standard rice or blue tortilla chips to pair with your peanut-topped tuna.

390 Broome St, New York; (212) 730-6005

Noreetuh

This sleek East Village restaurant is a little bit fancier than the others—Noreetuh is the perfect place for a sit down dinner and a glass of wine. Instead of focusing on just poke, there is a whole nod to Hawaiian cooking tied with Korean, Japanese and Filipino cuisines. The menu has a large range, spanning everything from taro chips, to pineapple braised pork belly, to spam tortellini. While their tuna and salmon poke comes sans rice, it does come marinated in sesame oil and soy sauce garnished with jalapeno slices and toasted macadamia nuts.

128 1st Ave, New York; (646) 892-3050

Words by Tahirah Hairston
Image courtesy of Chikarashi