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Craving Fresh ‘Ahi? New Pearl City Poke Place is Worth the Trip

Tiny Poke on Da Run offers fresh fish and comfort food.


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Some of the most popular poke at Poke on Da Run: Hawaiian style, tako and spicy ‘ahi.
Photos: Gus Downes

 

It’s unforgivably rare to find what you get at the recently opened Poke on Da Run: spicy ‘ahi that’s actually spicy.

 

The first thing you notice about the poke is how well it’s cut. There are no chewy tendons, or untrimmed fat, or nicked bloodlines here. Just firm, fresh cubes of ‘ahi, seasoned perfectly. (They could teach classes on how to use limu.)

 

It’s not just the poke that’s good: The other dishes we tried were also seasoned boldly, yet balanced. The pork adobo nails the vinegar/fat ratio that makes it addictive. The braised beef is rich and hearty, but not greasy. There’s even the right amount of cracked black pepper in the mac salad. Auntie Marialani would be proud. The only misstep was the sweet chili chicken, which arrived cold, as if it spent too long in an unheated catering tray. Even then, it wasn’t hard to tell the recipe was on point.

 

Owner Wendell Tavares at his Pearl City store.

 

Owner Wendell Tavares got a settlement after he fell off a ladder at his sheet-metal job. Tavares says he could have used the money to buy a hot rod or a lifted truck, but instead decided to open the eatery. It’s a family business, as reflected in the good-natured bickering heard between the counter and the kitchen.

 

The store opened three months ago, and it’s already a hit. Plate lunches cost $6.75 for minis, $8 for regular and $9 for mixed plates. Poke bowls are $12, and the poke the day we stopped in was $13.99 a pound.

 

Growing pains are apparent. By 1 p.m., the store was almost out of braised beef and had run out of rice. Four men sat at the communal table, waiting on poke bowls. Tavares helped them through the wait with small cups of poi and fried ‘ahi chunks, salty and crisp, like jerky. They all agreed it was worth the wait.

 

Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, closed Sundays, 909 Lehua Ave., Pearl City, 478-1454

 

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