Grab a Super-Fresh Poke Bowl and Your Morning Coffee at Aloha Poke Shop
There’s a new place downtown that serves customizable, boat-to-bowl poke.
The Aloha Special ($12.95).
Photos: Maria Kanai
It’s a combo that doesn’t sound quite right: coffee and poke. But it’s been here, right under our noses in downtown Honolulu, at the Coffee Factory in Remington Building. Boasting of “the world’s best coffee!”, the Coffee Factory has also sold fish, hand-picked from auction by co-owner Jason Miyanaga and his wife Michele.
It was just one of those things. If you knew, you knew.
In mid-October, Miyanaga chose to make the full transition from the Coffee Factory into Aloha Poke Shop, and officially opened at the end of November. You can still buy coffee in the morning, but now the focus is where it should be: bowls of glistening, gleaming poke.
The Spicy ‘Ahi ($9.95).
“It’s downtown. You’ve been sitting in traffic all morning, you’re going to want coffee. And you’re also going to want poke. It makes sense,” says Jeff Samson, who is an Aloha Poke Shop co-owner, along with chef Eddie Mufnas. The two of them own the Firehouse Food Truck.
The menu is simple: You can build your own poke bowls or buy a specialty bowl. For the D.I.Y. bowls, there’s ‘ahi, or you can upgrade to salmon or hamachi for $1.50 extra. There are fun seasonings that include Sriracha, mayonnaise, inamona and chili oil, along with more traditional toppings like sea salt, shoyu, wasabi, furikake and chili pepper flakes. We like that you can add veggies including ginger, green onion, white onion, tomato and cucumber, and that, for only a dollar more, you can add ikura or tobiko. The bowls come in regular sizes for $9.95 and large for $11.95, which aren’t bad prices for the amount of fish you get. You can also get sashimi and poke platters, and there’s a poke bar option for people who want to host their own party at home.
The signature specialty bowl is the Aloha Special ($12.95), a beautiful dish filled with creamy ‘ahi, salmon and hamachi, flecks of tobiko, a spoonful of ikura and uni sauce. We ordered it with brown rice and seasoned with sea salt, which keeps the flavors light and highlights the “boat-to-bowl” taste of the fish. The Asian Fusion ($9.95) has a special shoyu sauce, ‘ahi, white and green onions and furikake. The sauce isn’t heavy, so this bowl is a refreshing step away from overly seasoned poke bowls we’ve had before. The Spicy ‘Ahi ($9.95) follows the same trend of keeping things light—the Sriracha sauce has a sharp, spicy profile but isn’t aggressive like, say, Foodland’s. Out of curiosity, we tried the Tofu Poke ($8.95)—we recommend sticking with the more flavorful ‘ahi.
The Asian Fusion ($9.95).
Another thing we loved was the tangy cucumber and daikon pickles that adorn each bowl. They are homemade and flavorful, and we’ve never had tsukemono with a poke bowl before. Like the coffee and poke, Aloha Poke Shop seems to be a pro at making unusual combinations work.
Aloha Poke Shop, 1111 Bishop St., 258-5595